Meet Fontbonne senior Tamar Adler!
We connected with Tamar to learn more about her time at Fontbonne, plans after graduation, and her nonprofit organization.
Can you share a little about yourself and why you chose to attend Fontbonne?
I was born and raised in St. Louis. I have three wonderful siblings, and my amazing dog, Charlie. In my free time, I love to horseback ride, play tennis, run, and hang out with my friends and family.
I chose to attend Fontbonne because of the amazing faculty, and the super warm, inviting community. Fontbonne is the friendliest place! I have been very involved on campus over the last four years. I am a member of TELOS, ALD (Alpha Lambda Delta), and ODK (Omicron Delta Kappa). I chose to become involved in these clubs/societies as a way to meet people and join the fabulous events that they run.”
Tell us about your nonprofit organization.
In early 2021, I started a nonprofit called Cheery Charlie.
In June 2020, my younger brother, 18 at the time, went out for a bike ride. In his 20th mile, when he was almost home, a delivery truck driver reversed without looking and struck him. When I got the news, my twin brother called me (he never calls me out of the blue) and said, “Don’t panic. Avi was out biking and was hit by a truck. We are on the way to the scene.” Avi was unconscious and rushed to Children’s Hospital. His saving grace was that he was wearing a helmet; it saved his life.
Avi spent hours in the emergency room where he kept asking the same questions repetitively and screaming in pain from a broken bone. He had no idea what happened to him. He had a care team that did their best to ease his pain. On his care team was a child life specialist named Ericka. She came into the room and started talking to Avi. She asked him about his family and where he was going to college. Avi started telling her about our family’s new puppy Charlie. Ericka calmed Avi down, and that calmed our family as well. Ericka went from room to room with Avi explaining what was happening and what the procedures would be like. The accident changed my younger brother, and it also changed me.
As my brother was home and recovering, I realized I wanted to work in a profession that benefited other people. Avi’s description of how Ericka helped him through his recovery piqued my interest in the field of child life. When I began college in fall 2018 at Fontbonne University, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for a career. I have always had a creative side to me, and a love for fashion, so I majored in Fashion Merchandising. This program allowed me to grow creatively and expand my knowledge of fashion, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit my life to it. After my brother’s accident, I realized my calling.
I decided to volunteer at Children’s Hospital. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to volunteer in person, but I was able to connect with the child life department. In January 2021, I started a project of creating and donating craft bags to the child life playroom at Children’s Hospital.
This project, called Cheery Charlie, allows me to use my creative brain while also helping children. Charlie makes me cheery, and that’s what I hope my craft bags do for the children who receive them. Each craft bag has a small note tied to the bag with a picture of me and Charlie, and a message with my story.
I have donated over 2,500 bags to the child life playroom at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and expanded my donations to include Mercy Kids Children’s Hospital. I donate 300 craft bags every 4-6 weeks. The crafts are seasonally themed, and there is usually a variety of three different crafts in each donation. My most recent craft bags were based on a winter theme.
I work with the child life teams from both hospitals to design the contents of each bag based on the current patient needs and abilities. I have registered Cheery Charlie as an official nonprofit corporation in the state of Missouri. By becoming official, I can now fundraise and accept tax-deductible donations to help support the project.
Contact information for Cheery Charlie:
Check out this KSDK Feature on Tamar!