In June 2020, Tamar Adler went through a traumatic experience that sparked her passion for child life.
To begin her journey in child life, Adler created Cheery Charlie, a nonprofit corporation that donates craft bags to children in hospitals.
Nearly three years since its inception in January 2021, Adler’s nonprofit has donated over 8,000 craft bags.
In August 2022, Adler enrolled in the child life graduate program at Missouri State University. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and completes her courses online.
Putting her education to practice
Adler completed her practicum this fall at Mercy Kids Hospital in St. Louis.
She spent most of her time in the emergency department and occasionally worked in the surgery center. She practiced providing support to children as a child life specialist during some of their most vulnerable times.
“One of the most valuable things I learned was to match the energy in the room and of the patient. This helps build rapport and makes the child feel more comfortable,” Adler said.
While she enjoyed working in both departments, she discovered she loved working in the emergency room.
“I liked not knowing who was coming next, and the sense of surprise,” she said. “I’m sad the experience is over, but I’m looking forward to my future.”
A supportive community
Adler shared she has loved her online MSU experience.
“I’ve learned so much, and the faculty is amazing and supportive,” she said.
“Dr. Murphy goes above and beyond for her students. She’s extremely supportive, and you can tell how much she cares about each student,” she said.
Adler plans to graduate in spring 2026. She is grateful to be able to complete her program while working on Cheery Charlie.
“I hope to expand my nonprofit into other areas of Missouri and beyond. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me and Cheery Charlie.”