Ashton Receives Guitar While at Lurie Children’s Hospital

On Saturday, August 17th, Yoli – AAFH President, delivered an acoustic guitar to Ashton at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Ashton was there with his parents and 2-year-old sister while he was receiving an infusion treatment.

Ashton is a 15-year-old student from Plymouth, IN, about 2-hour drive from downtown Chicago. He already plays clarinet with his school marching band and would like to learn how to play guitar also. He is the oldest of five children.

On the day of our visit, Ashton was clearly having a tough day with his eyes closed and head on the pillow during the visit. He was able to sit up briefly and smile upon receiving his new guitar. We are reminded of the physical and mental pain and strain that comes along with so many of these illnesses for the children and families we serve through AAFH.

Our prayers and best wishes go out to Ashton and his family. We also send our gratitude to the nurses, therapists, doctors and all the medical staff who treat the patients. Anne, one of the nurses who cared for Alyssa when she was in-patient, remembered Yoli and shared moments of Alyssa’s stay at Lurie’s.

Thanks go out to all our friends and supporters of AAFH who keep Alyssa’s legacy of love for music and art alive in carrying out our foundation’s mission and in fulfilling our vision helping young patients enjoy life while in treatment for life threatening illnesses.



Mackenzie Receives Violin at Lurie Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered a violin to Mackenzie at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago on Monday morning, August 5, 2019. Mackenzie arrived with her mother, Jackie, at Lurie where she was going to receive treatment.

Mackenzie is 14 years old and lives with her family in La Grange Park, IL. She was diagnosed with AML leukemia in June 2019. She loves to paint, sing in the choir, do poms and hang out with her friends. She is interested in learning how to play the violin.

We met Mackenzie during Alyssa’s celebration of life at Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s in July 2019. This is where she heard about AAFH and the gift request program we offer to teens and young adults going through their cancer journey. Mackenzie went on the AAFH website and submitted her request that night!

Within two weeks of Mackenzie’s request, a violin was ordered, picked up from Instrument Exchange and ready for delivery to her. Mackenzie smiled upon receiving her violin and it was truly heart-warming experience for all.

We couldn’t think of a better way to begin a week than sharing Alyssa’s love of art and music with another young patient. The happiness that we see on the smiling faces of our recipients is a wonderful reminder that we are fulfilling the mission of our Foundation.



Bringing More Cheer & Joy to Gift Recipients in Guadalajara, Mexico  

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope brought joy and smiles to children and young adults by fulfilling their gift requests on July 22, 2019. They received musical instruments, headphones and art materials at the Hospital Civiles de Guadalajara-"Juan I. Menchaca and Fray Antonio Alcalde in Jalisco, Mexico.  Yoli, AAFH President, George, Vice-President, Dra. Martha, Board member, and Narciso Razo, volunteer, visited with 15 patients between 11 and 20 years old and delivered their requested gifts: 8 guitars, 3 headphones, 2 keyboards, 1 trumpet and 1 ukulele.  Dra. Martha acquired the musical instruments from local vendors prior to our visit. 

Many of the gift recipients met us at the hospital on their off day from outpatient treatment.  Quite a number of these young patients are facing cancer and other life-threatening diseases and in-patient when we delivered their gifts.  Meeting these young adult patients and seeing their joyful expressions upon receiving their gifts made our trip to these 2 hospitals in Mexico even more worthwhile.  The young recipients and their parents were appreciative of the music and art gifts.  It is us who are most grateful for the opportunity to meet them and bring a smile to their faces and a bit of Hope.   

Headphone Gift Recipients: Ricardo- 20, Noe Diaz- 14 & Mariana - 12;

Keyboad Gift Recipients: Diana -13 & Javier - 17

Trumpet Gift Recipient: Hector - 11

Ukulele Gift Recipient: Maria - 11

Guitar Gift Recipients: Miguel - 19, Marco -16, Oscar-14, Jorge -12, Tania - 12, Rafael -16, Jesus - 16 & Noe Rivera - 18 

 Our deepest thanks to Dra. Martha and Dra. Alma for all their help in arranging our meetings with the gift recipients at the hospitals.  Likewise, our thanks go out to Narciso, our volunteer who accompanied us with gift deliveries to patients at both hospitals.



A Celebration of Life for Alyssa’s 24th Birthday at RMH in Chicago

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) prepared a lunch, delivered Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) and celebrated Alyssa’s birthday with the resident families and our guests at RMH in Chicago on Sunday, July 21, 2019. The afternoon included a musical performance by the Salcedo Brothers (Diego and Braulio) and a gift of a pair of sunglasses with our Foundation logo was given to everyone who attended.

Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin and AAFH Board Member, organized the event and his friends – Chris, Krista, Tim, Lisa, Christina C., prepared a delicious meal which included mixed green salad, pasta salad, meatballs and Italian sausages with cupcakes and fresh fruit for dessert. Much of the food was donated by our volunteers.

After lunch, Alyssa’s family and friends went up to the rooftop where the Salcedo Brothers played Las Mananitas, the Mexican Birthday song, in honor of what would have been Alyssa’s 24th birthday. Yoli, Alyssa’s Mom, ordered 24 painted lady butterflies contained in individual envelopes. George, Alyssa’s Dad, distributed the butterflies to our family and friends who then released them into the Chicago sky overlooking Lake Michigan. Some of the butterflies must have been still groggy from their journey and didn’t take flight immediately, some flew just as far as the plants on the rooftop and others ventured out further.

In her young life, Alyssa ventured far and experienced as much as she could while inspiring many people along the way. She continues to be an inspiration in our lives and she touches many others through the Foundation established in her memory.

We thank all the dear family, friends and volunteers who prepared and cleaned up after the lunch, the Salcedo Brothers, the RMH staff and the families who enjoyed the meals and learned about Alyssa’s love for the visual arts and music.



Tristan Received a Violin 2 Days Before His 19th Birthday

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered a violin to Tristan at RMH in Winfield, IL on July 18, 2019. He is 18 years old and lives with his family in Durand, IL. Tristan is being treated at the Chicago Proton Center in Warrenville, IL. Tristan has been receiving chemo and proton therapy since he was diagnosed with cancer (neuroendocrine carcinoma) in May 2019.

Tristan is a musician. He just completed his first year at Northeastern Illinois University and is majoring in Music Education. Tristan has played the piano by ear since he was 2 years old and has played the trumpet since 5th grade. He also played the electric and acoustic guitar since he was 13 years old.

Tristan’s mom, Nanette, shared with us so many great things that Tristan has done, such as, releasing his first album in November of 2018 called NOW which can be heard on Spotify, YouTube and Amazon. She told us that he has a kind and gentle heart and loves to share his passion with others. This sounded very similar to Alyssa’s passion for music.

We understand well how having a life-threatening illness for a loved one changes iour perspective on the world. Alyssa’s illness changed ours and her inspiration motivates us every day to improve the lives of health-challenged youth by providing them with tools for the creation and joy of art and music.

It was a pleasure to meet Tristan and his parents. We wish Tristan a happy 19th birthday and many more to come. We hope Tristan enjoys his violin just as much as Alyssa enjoyed hers.

We are grateful to be able to give joy to Tristan and others in honor of our precious daughter, Alyssa.



Music Night at RMH near Loyola Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted a music night at RMH near Loyola Hospital in Maywood, IL on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. We brought percussion instruments as well as a ukulele for the young patients and their family members to enjoy.

We arrived around dinner time and met other volunteers who had arrived to prepare the meal for the families. One of the other pleasures that we don’t often mention is the opportunity to meet like-minded people who find value and gratification in donating their time on behalf of others. We exchanged information with two different volunteer groups this evening and discussed the possibility of working together in the future.

Getting back to the music night, though, we also were able to get re-acquainted with a young family that we had met at the same house for a previous Art Night hosted by AAFH. This family travels all the way from Recife, Brazil to get treatment for their toddler daughter that they can’t receive in their home country. The little girl and her young sister had a great time banging away on the drums and other instruments that we brought for them.

We also met a second family who had two school age children that showed interest in and promise with the ukulele. They also experimented with several of the instruments there and it was great to see their lack of inhibition when trying something new.

Every event we get to participate in is a reminder to us that as we give, we also get. We give a little bit of our time but we get to meet so many wonderful people – volunteers, staff, patients, family members and of course the children – and we also get tremendous satisfaction in seeing the smiles as a result of our time together.

Alyssa’s presence and her passion for life is felt at each one of our events.



AAFH Delivers Alyssa SAKs to Delnor Hospital in Geneva

On Monday, July 15, 2019, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) made a delivery to the Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, IL. A delivery of 25 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) was made by Mary Jane Johnson - AAFH Board Member to Trina Krischon, Child Life Specialist at Delnor. Trina will be giving the Alyssa SAKs to young patients who are being treated at this hospital on an outpatient basis.

The kits come in different formats to appeal to the different ages and interests of the patients – everything from adult coloring books to drawing and journal kits. Trina mentioned that these art materials are especially appreciated because the hospital has limited items to give the teens and young adults.

We are gratified to know that Alyssa’s spirit continues to positively impact others through her love of the arts.



1st Donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children - Tampa, Florida

Bea Hernandez (Yoli’s cousin), George Alvin (Vice President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) and Yoli Alvin (President of AAFH) made a delivery of 50 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to Tara Paustian-CCLS Child Life Senior Therapist and Ivelisse Zambrano-Donor Development Assistant at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa on Monday, July 1, 2019. This is our first visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children, and we received a guided tour of the facility by Bob Clifford-one of the Shriners who volunteers his time every Monday.

We delivered six different types of Alyssa SAKs to Shriners Hospitals including journal kits, ocean coloring kits, drawing kits, watercolor art kits, acrylic art kits and color me lunch bags. We had the pleasure of giving some of Alyssa SAKs to children who were there for their appointments. It is great to know that we are sharing Alyssa’s love of art with the children being treated at Shriners. This is the place where one of our art kit recipients, João, was being treated and it is great to spread Alyssa SAKs at more medical institutions where teens and young adults are being treated. The art kits are given to teens and young adult patients with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

We thank our volunteers who often assist preparing the Alyssa Starter Art Kits and the donors who provide the young patients with the opportunity to be creative during their medical journey.

Alyssa’s legacy lives on!



Art Materials Gift for Julian

Julian is a 9-year-old boy who was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma (brain tumor) in April 2019 and is being treated at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL. He is an elementary student living on the south side of Chicago with his two older sisters as well as his Mom and Dad.

Julian learned about the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) through Lori Mackey, Art Therapist at Advocate Children’s Hospital. Lori submitted a gift request on the AAFH website and commented on what a fabulous painter at such a young age Julian is.

On Monday, June 10th, Yoli (AAFH President) delivered the art materials Julian requested just before he was set to be released to return home. His art materials included colored paints, brushes, canvases of different sizes, and a large standing easel with several trays for storing supplies. Julian was thrilled to receive all these items. Julian told Yoli that he liked to paint and wanted to start painting immediately upon receiving his materials. He also asked us if we could buy him a paint smock so he doesn’t get paint on his clothes. Before leaving, Julian leaned over to his Dad, Fernando, and asked him if he could give Yoli a hug. He also asked to keep Alyssa’s brochure. Julian’s warm enthusiasm and gratitude is exactly why we carry out the AAFH mission.

We told Julian that we hope he shares some of his artwork with us in the future and thereby spread the message of hope and joy even further.Whenever we share Alyssa’s love of art and music with others and see the positive impact it has on young patients, we are reminded of the important work of our Foundation.



Happy Birthday Jasmine!

On May 26, 2019, Jasmine celebrated her 18th birthday while at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (Lurie). In April 2019, Jasmine was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal white and red blood cells. Jasmine is receiving chemo treatments at Lurie while staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s to avoid the long drive from Rockford, IL, her hometown.

Jasmine heard of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) through Willow Messier, Art Therapist at Lurie. Willow also worked with Alyssa while she was a patient there too.

Jasmine’s mom, Theresa, accompanies Jasmine when she has her appointments at Lurie . She shared with us good news that Jasmine has been admitted to the Milwaukee Art School to pursue her art career.

On Monday, May 27, 2019, Daniel (Alyssa’s cousin) and Krysta Rojas arrived at Lurie to deliver Jasmine’s art gift consisting of Copic markers, Copic art paper and a Copic markers case. Jasmine was very happy to receive the Copic markers she had requested and the other accessories accompanying the markers. Jasmine expressed she couldn’t wait to begin drawing with her Copic markers.

It was a great pleasure to have met Jasmine and her mom as it is when we meet other young adults who share Alyssa’s love of art.


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AAFH Delivers Ukulele to Annie at Lurie Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered a ukulele to Annie at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL on Friday, May 24, 2019. Annie is 16 years old and was accompanied at the hospital by her mother, Rory. They live in Grayslake, IL and travel to Chicago to receive treatment for alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS), a soft tissue cancer that Annie was diagnosed with last year.

Annie is a lovely, family-oriented young lady with a quick smile who enjoys art and has recently taken an interest in the ukulele. She is a fan of Australian recording artist, Vance Joy, who plays the ukulele on several his hits which she hopes to learn to play. Annie’s plans are to finish high school and continue her studies in college. She is also thinking of becoming a Child Life Specialist (CLS) to help other children similar to her situation. She has seen the importance of the work of a CLS in assisting her cope with her own illness and wants to work in something equally important and rewarding in her future.

We well understand how having a life-threatening illness affecting you or a loved one changes your perspective on the world. Alyssa’s illness changed ours and her inspiration motivates us to improve the lives of health-challenged youths by providing them with tools for the creation of art and music.

It was a pleasure for us to meet Annie and her Mom, Rory.We wish Annie all the best and are grateful to have been able to give her joy in honor our daughter, Alyssa.

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Art Night and Delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits at RMH near Loyola Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) held an Art Night and delivered Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) near Loyola Hospital in Maywood, IL on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. We brought sculpting clay for the patients and their family members to shape into anything they wanted and paints to color them.

AAFH made a donation of 25 SAKs of various types including journal, drawing and watercolor painting kits. Kaihla, the Evening House Manager at RMH helped us set up for the event and was very glad to receive the kits on behalf of the children and families staying at the RMH. Many of the participants took a SAK with them after creating their clay sculptures during the event.

This was one of the most well-attended art nights we’ve held in quite a while. We never know how many participants will be available but, on this evening, we had over half a dozen youths and at least as many family members creating sculpted forms, painting them and in the process sharing laughter and compliments with one another!

We were fortunate to meet Ish, a young patient from The Gambia, a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. He was with us while receiving treatments for his illness and, like little boys everywhere, he had a fondness for action figures. We met a young couple from Fortaleza, Brazil who had 2 beautiful children, a toddler who enjoyed herself immensely and a newborn who was very vocal too. We met others for the first time and got re-acquainted with another Mom from Canada we had met previously while staying at the RMH while her child received treatment at the hospital.

Spring fever was in the air that night and it infected, in a good way, our art participants with creativity and joy. We received much gratitude from the families for our volunteer efforts, but we are the ones who are grateful for the opportunity to share our love of Alyssa and our mission of the AAFH!



AbilityLab Receives 45 Alyssa Starter Art Kits

A delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) was made to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, Illinois on Monday, May 13, 2019.

Yoli – AAFH President met the Art Therapist- Lynne Linkowski who is part of the Therapeutic Recreation Department (TRD).  AbilityLab has a floor dedicated to Oncology patients and Lynne will make sure they promote our Gift Recipient Program to those young adult patients.  Each day TRD works with young patients who are interested in expressing themselves through music and art. 

We delivered a variety of Alyssa SAKs which included 5 different types of kits: acrylic, watercolor, drawing, journals, and adult coloring books.

The Alyssa SAKs will be available for teens and young adults between the ages of 10 and 21 staying at the AbilityLab.   

We continue to share Alyssa’s love of art and promote the programs offered by Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope!



Kade Receives His Blue Sony Headset

On this past Mother’s day, May 12, 2019, a special gift delivery was made to Kade….he received a wireless blue Sony headset he had requested through our Foundation’s gift program. Kade was joined by his Grandma, Mom, Dad and two older brothers on this special day. Alyssa’s Aunt – Nancy and Alyssa’s Mom & President of AAFH-Yoli met Kade and his family to present him with his Sony wireless headset.

A year ago, in April 2018, Kade was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He is undergoing physical therapy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. The AbilityLab is a leader in physical medicine and rehabilitation for adults and children with the most severe, complex conditions. He and his family are staying at the RMH in Chicago due to the time and distance traveling between their hometown, Farmer City, IL and Chicago.

Kade loves music and art and following his surgery, his subsequent condition affected his ability to draw art. However, Kade loves music too because it is very therapeutic to him. His old headphones recently quit working and when we met him at the Music Night held in April at RMH – Chicago, Kade was so excited by our offer of a new set of wireless headphones through our Gift Recipient Program.

Our Mission is to give hope and provide an outlet for creative expression through art and music and this rehabilitation center is special because Alyssa was admitted there back in 2014, when known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It is a place the Alvin family will always remember for the care the kind staff provided Alyssa during her stay there.

Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring family, friends and others interested in helping people together in her memory.



AAFH Delivers Alyssa SAKs to São Paulo, Brazil

On Monday, May 6, 2019, Claudia Martin de Goncalves and her husband, João Paulo, were accompanied by their friend, Verena, as well as Yoli, President of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) in delivering 30 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to Casa Ronald McDonald in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil*.

*Disclosure: Travel expenditures, i.e., airfare and lodging expenses, were not paid by the AAFH.

Almost a year ago, Yoli and George met Claudia and her son, João Pedro “JP”, who were staying at Ronald McDonald House East in St. Petersburg, Florida. JP participated in the afternoon Art Activity sponsored by AAFH and a friendship with JP and Claudia was born.

In mid-April of this year, Claudia and JP, returned to Florida for a follow-up visit for JP’s medical condition at Shriners Hospital in Tampa, FL. While staying at the RMH East in St. Petersburg they reunited with Yoli.

In preparation for the trip to São Paulo, Claudia contacted Casa Ronald McDonald in Campinas, São Paulo as well as the Boldrini Children’s Center, a children’s hospital with a large hematology/oncology patient base.

Upon our arrival at Casa Ronald McDonald, we were greeted by the Manager, Elen Mirian Casonato, and her Assistant, Daniella, who gave us an extensive tour of the facility. This RMH has a capacity for 28 residents and on the day of our visit, there were 23 rooms being occupied by families with sick children. Elen expressed her gratitude for the delivery of the Alyssa Starter Art Kits which included various types such as journals, drawing and adult coloring book kits. As can be seen from the pictures, the Alyssa SAKs were given to youths who clearly displayed their happiness in receiving the art materials.

We are grateful to the Goncalves family for their wonderful work in contacting and coordinating with local staff to organize the visits to the Casa Ronald McDonald and the Boldrini Children’s Center in Campinas and for their warm hospitality during the weekend. Yoli got to spend lots of time with JP and his 3 year-old beautiful little sister.

Claudia and her husband, João Paulo, want to spread the mission of AAFH in their country of Brazil. They embrace the joy of art and music as Alyssa did and want to spread that same joy to other patients in their state of São Paulo.

This personal experience and heartfelt love of this family will forever remain in our hearts and now they too are a part of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation friends and family!



Music Event & Delivery of Alyssa SAKs to RMH East

It was a sunny day on Monday, April 29, 2019 when Alyssa’s parents & founders of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope, arrived to hold our first music event at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) East near All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins in St. Petersburg, FL. We brought a variety of percussion instruments such as a music triangle, music sticks, a two-tone wooden block, tambourine and maracas. As the children staying at the RMH heard we had arrived with musical instruments, they started coming to the Bubble Room and quickly started playing some of the percussion instruments they liked.

We presented Karen Matthews, RMH House Manager, with 50 Alyssa Starter Art Kits. The delivery included a variety of art kits such as adult coloring books, drawing kits, watercolor kits, acrylic kits and journals. Each child and family member selected an Alyssa SAK of their choice. A young girl, Bella, gave Yoli a butterfly she had made earlier with watercolors. Both were happy to meet each other.

We are thankful that we can share Alyssa’s love for the arts with others. Happy Spring to all of you!



AAFH Fundraiser at En Fuego Mexican Grille in Oakbrook Terrace, IL

On April 14, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted a fundraiser at En Fuego Mexican Grille in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. This fundraising event was led by Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin, who was recently added as a Board member of AAFH.

Daniel also came up with the idea to have a raffle for two cash prizes and a 55” 4K Smart TV at this event. All 500 tickets were sold thanks to the outpouring of support we experienced for this event. There were also smaller raffles for several gift baskets donated by a variety of local businesses. As a result, many of the attendees went home winners!

All attendees enjoyed hearty appetizers, soft drinks and entertainment provided by Marysela Aviles, a lovely singer of popular Mexican songs who accompanied herself on percussion. Marysela was introduced to us by Alyssa’s godmother, Nancy Nunez. Many of Nancy’s family members were also in attendance.

We had great participation from our existing Board members including Daniel Guerrero, Mary Jane Johnson, Denise Perez, Carmen Ziegler, and Vince, Alyssa’s brother, who recorded much of the event on video.

We appreciate and thank our event volunteers who came despite the snowy conditions on Sunday afternoon: Chris Coconate for coordinating the entrance and smaller raffles. Jorge Diaz for picking up and delivering the 55” 4K Smart TV to En Fuego. Roxie, David and Natalia for helping with the disassembling and cleanup at the end of the event.

Generous contributions for gift baskets, hair products and art pieces came from the following businesses and donors: Base Salon Chicago, C&C Insurance, Creative Staffing, En Fuego Mexican Grille, Villa Verone Italian Restaurant, El Molcajete Mexican Restaurant, Instrument Exchange, Kathy De’s Deli, Scully Logistics, Adrienne Guerrero and Ana Salgado.

This year we also had the pleasure of a very special guest, Dr. Martha Juarez and her teenage children, Nayelly and Hugo. They traveled all the way from Guadalajara, Mexico, to join us for this event as well as to attend other AAFH functions during their time here. What makes Dr. Martha special to us, though, is the passion and leadership she has demonstrated in expanding the work of Alyssa’s Foundation in Guadalajara. She has made a personal commitment to our mission and done so in a place where there are even less resources than most of us enjoy here in the U.S. Dr. Martha has also recently been added as a Board member and, more importantly, as a cherished friend of our extended family.

We are grateful to all our friends, supporters and donors in attendance or with us in spirit for carrying on Alyssa’s legacy of love for the arts and allowing us to continue to help other youth struggling with life-threatening illnesses.Thank you all so much!



Alyssa Starter Art Kits Donated to Chicago Hospitals

On Friday, April 12, upon arriving to Chicago from Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Martha Juarez-new Board member of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) accompanied Yoli-AAFH President for a delivery of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to Willow Messier, Art Therapist at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Martha and Yoli were joined by Nayelly and Hugo, daughter and son, respectively, of Dr. Martha. Dr. Martha met Willow who was the Art Therapist who worked with Alyssa during her stay at Lurie’s and later assisted with identifying the supplies that should go into the SAKs. Willow took us to the Art/Music room on the 12th floor and showed us the musical instruments previously donated by the AAFH and Instrument Exchange.  The instruments are hung on the walls and are available to children who want to borrow them while in-patient at the hospital. Dr. Martha also had a chance to see Alyssa’s Geisha Collage on the wall of the 11th floor. Alyssa’s Geisha Collage reminds us of Alyssa’s strength as she completed this piece after coming out of a coma. Alyssa inspires all of us to continue working hard and enjoying life to its fullest.

The following Monday, April 15th, Dr. Martha, Nayelly and Hugo made a deliver of the Alyssa SAKs to Kari Batelson and Megan Hartnet, Child Life Specialists at Rush Children’s Hospital. Dr. Martha had the chance to see two of the local hospitals AAFH donates Alyssa SAKs to. She enjoyed meeting the Child Life staff and hopes to come again to assist in the art kit deliveries.

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The photos shown here are demonstrations of the efforts many people have made to give hope whether it be the many instruments that have been donated to create a music room at the hospital or the beautiful Geisha art piece that Alyssa created during her own treatment. As you can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring our family, friends and others interested in helping people together in her memory.



AAFH Hosts an Art & Music Night at RMH near Lurie’s in Chicago

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) held an Art and Music Night at the RMH near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL on Saturday, April 13, 2019. We brought art materials and percussion instruments for the patients and their family members to enjoy.

AAFH donated 50 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) of various types including journals, drawing kits, coloring and painting (acrylic & watercolor) kits. April Hudson-Director of RMH was happy to receive the Alyssa SAKs from us as they are very popular with the young patients staying there.

Several family members came to our activity table and were happy to try some of the percussion instruments. They also were happy to receive one of the Alyssa SAKs. Many of them told us how they enjoy music and drawing art.

This event was also special in that we enjoyed the company of Dr. Martha Juarez and her daughter, Nayeli, and son, Hugo, who came in all the way from Guadalajara, Mexico. We met Dr. Martha and her family 4 years ago when Yoli-AAFH President, made a delivery of SAKs for the first time to Hospital Civil – Fray Antonio Alcalde in Guadalajara, Mexico. Since then, Dr. Martha has embraced the mission of AAFH and has become part of our extended family. She continues the Foundation’s work through her own initiative, and we are proud to bring her on as an AAFH Board Member.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to spread and encourage the joy of art and music that Alyssa had to other children and young adults wherever possible!



ComEd Employees Assemble 150 Alyssa Starter Art Kits in Oakbrook

On a pleasant spring day, Monday April 8, ComEd’s Energy Acquisition volunteers at the Commercial Center in Oakbrook, IL gathered with the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) President, Yoli Alvin, and AAFH Board member, Mary Jane Johnson to assemble a variety of Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs).

This volunteer event was coordinated by Albert “AJ” Griffith who participated in the first AAFH Art Kit Preparation in the Fall of 2017 hosted by Rita Alviar, Yoli’s co-worker and longtime friend). AJ presented the AAFH volunteer event to Scott Vogt, VP Energy Acquisition, who supported the idea of hosting this event. The volunteers donated funds towards the purchase of the art materials and Scott demonstrated his commitment by making a matching contribution to Alyssa’s Foundation. This event directly contributed to meeting Exelon’s 2019 Employee National Volunteer Month with 27 enthusiastic participants. Two employees from ComEd’s Energy Acquisition team, AJ and Eileen, went with Mary Jane and Yoli to deliver 50 of the Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) to Central DuPage Children’s hospital in Winfield, IL. Natalie Schmidt-Child Life Intern received the Alyssa SAKs.

Yoli and Mary Jane delivered a short presentation about Alyssa, and the Foundation - why it was created, the Foundation’s four main music and art programs, the Foundation’s accomplishments since its inception and how interested ComEd employees can help promote AAFH.

Participating employees received lunch prior to beginning the assembly of 150 SAKs. These SAKs will be distributed and made available soon to children staying at a Ronald McDonald House or undergoing treatment at a Children’s Hospital. All the ComEd employees expressed enjoyment in doing this volunteer event together.

We thank all the volunteers for their generosity of time and donations to make a difference in young patients’ lives throughout the communities that the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope serves.Events like this enable us to further our mission to bring the joyful gifts of music and visual arts into the lives of children and young people who are battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.