emilys smile

Emily's Smile Boxes – Bringing a Little Joy to Sick Kids and Their Families!

In 2008, 9-year-old Emily Lites became a big sister when her little brother Jude was born. However, Jude was not your average little brother. Jude had suffered a stroke before he was born and as a result was brain-damaged. Because of Jude’s condition, Emily spent a lot of time in hospitals supporting her brother. And she realized that for a kid, a hospital can be a sad and boring place. She decided she wanted to do something to help make hospital time a little easier for kids like her and Jude. Thus, the idea for Emily’s Smile Boxes was born.

With the help of friends and family, Emily began putting together activity boxes that contained items such as crayons, paper, card games, and stuffed animals. She began handing out her boxes at local hospitals to not just sick kids, but also their siblings as well! Through her Smile Boxes, Emily wants to make sure that all kids who spend time at a hospital, whether because of their own conditions or because they are supporting family, can have their stay be a little bit brighter.

This video tells all about Emily’s Smile Boxes and the wonderful impact they have.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is an article that tells all about Emily and her wonderful boxes.
  • Here is another IMK post about an unusual dog who helps bring cheer to the sick and disabled too!

Topics for Discussion:

  • Have you ever had to stay in a hospital? How did it feel?
  • Why does Emily feel it’s important to give Smile Boxes to siblings of sick kids?

Take Action:

  • Visit the website for Emily’s Smile Boxes to learn how you can help Emily with her amazing effort!
  • Visit the Hugs and Hope website to learn how you can bring a little cheer to sick kids, just like Emily does!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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