K.I.D.S.S. for Kids Celebrates 25 Years of Helping Patients and Families

February 16, 2017

Thousands of children at Lurie Children's who have benefited from art and music therapy, or laughed at "Story Time with Dot" on the hospital's Skylight TV network can thank K.I.D.S.S. for Kids (Kindness Is Doing Something Special for Kids), an affiliated organization of Lurie Children's. Over the last 25 years, K.I.D.S.S. for Kids has raised more than $11 million to support the hospital's Department of Family Services.

These programs, which also include Child Life, School Services and Social Work Services, are designed to promote social and developmental growth, as well as to help reduce the stress and anxiety of a hospital visit. They include emotional and spiritual assistance to families of these children, with social workers and programs like pastoral care and bereavement counseling.

"The generosity and caring spirit of K.I.D.S.S. for Kids have touched countless patients and their families over the years," says Susan Ruohonen, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trust Director for Children's Services at Lurie Children's. "Their ongoing support of Family Services provides unique opportunities to help kids be kids and families be families during some of the most difficult times of their lives."

K.I.D.S.S. for Kids was founded in 1991 by Karla and Mike Goldman, who recognized that providing for the non-medical needs of patients was just as critical as providing quality clinical care. The Goldmans invited a small group of friends to join them in forming the all-volunteer organization. Today, the K.I.D.S.S. for Kids board has more than 15 members — including most of the founding board members, and its junior board includes a number of children of the senior board's members.

K.I.D.S.S. for Kids' signature fundraising event is the Aon Step Up for Kids presented by KPMG stair climb to the top of the 80-floor Aon Center, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in January with more than 2,700 participants.

"We’re very proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary of supporting Family Services at Lurie Children's,” says K.I.D.S.S for Kids board president Mary Tritsis. "It’s been exciting to see something that started over two decades ago with just a few dedicated people and an initial contribution of several thousand dollars grow to help so many children and families."

This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Heroes magazine.