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“Just a simple idea and
a young child in need is
all that is needed to
inspire the creation of
beauty, love, and

Robin Modlin

“The creative
outpouring and
community manifested
in the prayer flags that
afternoon, has grown
since then. Our home
has been transformed
from an empty nest to a
sacred space of light,
hope and love. Sophia’s
Garden continues to
thrive as a home
hospice, health care
and medical research
center, community
incubator, artists’
retreat and sanctuary.
Blessings for Sophia
reach beyond
geographical and
physical boundaries.
Like pollen in the wind,
they propagate the
essence of the human
spirit: the quest for
meaning and healing.”

Karen Herzog,
Sophia’s Mother

“The prayer flags
changed the dynamic
of our home dramatically.
Instead of Sophia being
the focus of our
community's fear and
helplessness, she
became a wellspring
of creativity. In creating
the flags— adults,
children, neighbors,
friends and caregivers
each found a way to
tangibly express their
compassion and faith.”

Richard Sachs,
Sophia’s Father

"For me, this is the
essence of Healing Arts." 

Barbara Sourkes PhD
Director Palliative Care,
LPCH at Stanford




Love Heals

2004 Winner

The Society for the Arts in Healthcare
Blair L. Sadler International
Healing Arts Competition

Professional Participatory Arts Category

About The Award

In cooperation with the Society for the Arts in Healthcare and organized by Annette Ridenour, President of Aesthetics. Inc., an innovative international healing arts competition was launched in 2002. Sponsored by Blair L. Sadler, President and CEO of the San Diego Children’s Hospital for over 21 years, the goal of this competition is to elevate awareness of artists and healthcare professionals in improving the quality of experience for patients, families, visitors and staff working in healthcare. A key ingredient in the selection is inclusion of data based on research that shows the impact of the project.

Each student applicant was required to propose a visual, a performing or a participatory arts project designed to improve the quality of the healthcare experience; to partner with their school and to create a system for outcome measurement as part of their design process.

Each professional applicant was required to propose a visual, a performing or a participatory arts project designed to improve the quality of the healthcare experience; to partner with their client/healthcare facility, and to demonstrate the project’s success with an outcome study.Entries were judged on the following information, which must be included in the binder submitted:

Visual and graphic images that support an environment capable of improving the quality of healthcare
  A brief program statement (100 words) and a demonstrated response to it
  Demonstrated partnership between clients and artists
  The client's testimony that the project improved the quality of healthcare, for example:

Demonstrated sensitivity to patient needs; Improved therapeutic outcomes; Enhanced staff performance; Increased visitor and community participation; Achieved higher satisfaction rating.

About The Prayer Flag Project

Prayer Flags for Healing ™ are inspired by the traditional prayer flags of Tibet. They provide a unique opportunity to participate in supporting patients and their families who are in crisis. Making a prayer flag for a patient allows the friend or family member a way to share feelings of love and support that may be hard to say any other way.

As a participatory art project, Prayer Flags for Sophia gave children, friends, family and caregivers a safe way to touch their hearts and say what they needed to Sophia and her family.

The flags were hung in the house as a way to have the loving community surround Sophia and her family all of the time. The flags brought positive thoughts, good wishes and beauty to Sophia’s home which had been transformed into a hospice with assistance from Pathways Home Health Continuous Care and Hospice.

The flags provided a link for people to connect with one another as a community and became the basis of a strong foundation that has provided the support that this family needed to cope and get through this very difficult year.

Besides supporting the family and enhancing Sophia’s health care the flags were a remarkable inspiration to many including people who took the prayer flags to distant parts of the world including Tibet and Bulgaria.

Simple colored pieces of cotton cloth were decorated with paints, glitter, pens, buttons, feathers, charms, natural materials and what ever was available. When completed the flags were hung at the entrance of the home and in the main living area where the daily care of Sophia and medical care meetings take place.