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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Mar 3, 2021

Every parent knows one of the scariest times is when your child gets sick. But when a child is hospitalized or diagnosed with a rare or serious illness, it affects everything. It can be really scary for children who are struggling.

My guest today is taking her personal pain with her own child’s sickness and bringing joy to sick kids all around the country. Shalini Samtani is the founder of Open The Joy and the Spread the Joy Foundation.

4:29 – Shalini 101

  • Spread the Joy Foundation delivers activity kits to children at their hospital bedside. She started making the kits on her kitchen table with her mother three years ago. Last year, she sent 5,000 to 6,000 kits to more than 100 hospitals across the country.
  • Open the Joy is a for-profit company that makes toys focused on well-being and emotional intelligence in kids, such as a love and forgiveness box, anger management box, etc.
  • Shalini got the idea after being in a hospital room with her daughter and trying to Google ways to entertain her and keep her positive.

6:42 – Difficult news

  • Shalini’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease that caused her body to react differently to sickness.

10:15 – Finding her purpose

  • Shalini never imagined she would design kids’ toys. She describes the experience as finding her purpose. Giving back to sick kids is what drives her.

16:38 – How to buy the toys

  • Toys are sold on Open the Joy’s website and Amazon. They have launched a new emotional intelligence line of toys, including a love and forgiveness box, anger management box and a kindness mission box.

19:24 – “You heal by healing others.”

  • “While the world is focusing on making kids smarter, our focus is to make them kinder,” said Shalini

25:35 – Spreading like wildfire

  • Shalini has been amazed at how quickly her business grew. She says it has spread like wildfire.

27:22 – How her kids view the hospital now

  • Her daughter doesn't have any memories of being in the hospital. She now associates the hospital as a place where you get a joy box, because of Shalini’s business.
  • Her daughter and son think the hospital is a place where you do nice things for people.

38:05 – Get to know Shalini

  • What brings her joy? Snuggles
  • What song she loves to sing? Yellow by Coldplay


“I never believed in my wildest dream that’s what I was going to do – to design a toy collection.” – Shalini

“I’ve always been kind of like one of those souls, finding my purpose.” – Shalini

“The give back – that’s what drives me more than anything.” – Shalini

“We want it to be fun and engaging, but we also want it to be nutritional for their souls and for the development of their minds.” – Shalini

“While the world is focusing on making kids smarter, our focus is to make them kinder.” – Shalini

“You heal by healing others.” – Shalini

“I never really understood why this little project grew like wildfire … I feel like I watch miracles.” – Shalini


Shalini Samtani has a diverse background in Law, Real Estate and Design. However, her true passion lies in brining joy to sick kids. She is the founder of Open The Joy® a truly unique toy company that focuses on building emotional intelligence in kids; and the Spread The Joy Foundation® a registered non-profit that delivers free activity kits to hospitalized children at their bedside. Since its launch in 2019, Open the Joy has won several industry awards including Best New Products for Kids 2019 at NY Now, New Kids on the Block award at Toy Fair 2020, and Best New Manufacturers award at Toy Fest West 2020. Shalini Samtani’s leadership and the truly unique nature of her business has been awarded recognition by the Tory Burch Foundation 2020, as one of the top 50 female entrepreneurs selected nationwide.