Once upon a time… there was a fairy godmother named Jackie Veiner who cared for patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Through reading, visiting and transporting children to an imaginary world she transformed the lives of many. Through her unstoppable energy and compassion, she ignited the need to give back in our founder, Wil Ennis.
Hope Laugh Play started with a small group of friends working with one hospital for two years, funding the program with their own money. The popularity of their LEGO Day at Children's Health Care of Atlanta's Egleston Hospital grew to the point where it had become one of the most popular programs in the hospital.
In October of 2013 one of the children who had fallen in love with the LEGO sets given to him over the months of his hospital stay, quietly slipped away. When this special child lost his long and courageous battle with cancer his family asked that the mold of his hand be made holding a Lego.
When the hospital Family Library Coordinator, Vandie Enloe, shared this story and picture with our founder, Wil Ennis, and one of our volunteers, John Millier, they instantly knew they needed to incorporate and continue to grow this program in and effort to reach as many children in need as possible. Two weeks later, Hope Laugh Play (HLP) was incorporated under Georgia law as an independent nonprofit corporation, organized exclusively for public charitable uses. In September of 2014 HLP was awarded their federal 501(c)(3) tax free status.
Through hope, laughter, and play, we create joyful experiences by providing recreational programs to those in the community who are coping with health and other life challenges.
Hope Laugh Play continues to grow programs geared towards children of all ages in addition to seeking out new programs to meet the needs of adults and seniors in the community.