Our Programs

Riley Cheer Guild is a volunteer auxiliary that provides comfort and cheer to patients and caregivers at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and the IU Health adult hospitals on the academic health center in downtown Indianapolis.  In addition, Riley Cheer Guild is a not-for-profit, section 501(c)(3).


Toy Room

The Riley Cheer Guild Toy Room is located at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. It is filled with toys and other items that are ready to be distributed to patients. Each month, more than 9,000 Toy Room items are given to patients within the hospital. Many items in this room have been donated to the Riley Cheer Guild by our members, chapters, families, businesses, and members of the community. Although we receive many donated items, the Toy Room requires an annual budget of $65,000 to keep a consistent inventory of the most popular items needed for distractive therapy and play.


The Riley Cheer Guild began funding the Art Cart at the IU Health Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in 2011.  Expansion of support now includes music therapy, art therapy, and narrative therapy.  The CompleteLife Program is a complementary therapies program at IU Health that attends to the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of the whole person when the patients and families need it most. The current annual budget is $100,000.

· Art Therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.

· Music Therapy is a medical profession that uses all aspects of music to address holistic goals including pain management and emotional resilience.

· The Riley Cheer Guild raises $100,.000 per year to sponsor this program.

· Engaging in creative arts with a trained therapist can provide immediate relief from the physical and emotional effects of treatment.

· No artistic or musical experience is required!



Music therapy

The Riley Cheer Guild has been funding the music therapy program at Riley since 2000. In 2014, IU Health University Hospital asked the Riley Cheer Guild to fund their music therapy program for adults, which helps us to further our mission! The annual budget is $200,000.

What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions. Through live music, Board Certified Music Therapists create a safe, inviting environment where patients and families can explore their thoughts and feelings through music. Music therapy is designed for each patient based on individualized needs. You can find music therapists at each of the hospitals leading songwriting, singing tunes, playing instruments, making digital music, or creating improvisational music with patients. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote wellness

  • Manage Stress

  • Alleviate Pain

  • Express Feelings

  • Enhance Memory

  • Improve Communication

  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation

Making a Difference for Patients
Music therapy has been shown to be an effective therapy option when no other therapies seem to work. It stimulates all of the senses and involves the patient at many levels. It is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it. This “multi-modal approach” facilitates many developmental skills. Music is highly motivating, yet it can also have a calming and relaxing effect. Enjoyable music activities are designed to be success-oriented and make patients feel better about themselves. Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used to help with some speech and language skills.


Click here to watch the Riley Music Therapy 101 presentation including case studies and vignettes by Riley Music Therapists.