MLS W.O.R.K.S., Philadelphia Union and Starlight Children’s Foundation Donate Fun Center to Crozer
Philadelphia Union player Michael Lahoud prepares
to cut the ribbon at a dedication ceremony for the
multi-media Fun Center™. Pictured from left to
right are Barbara Schreiber, executive director of
Starlight Children's Foundation; Christopher
Stenberg, M.B.Ch.B., F.A.A.P., chairman of the
Department of Pediatrics at Crozer-Chester Medical
Center; Lahoud; Union player Amobi Okugo; and
Robert Haffey, vice president and chief nursing
officer for Crozer-Keystone Health System.
MLS W.O.R.K.S. and the Philadelphia Union teamed up with Starlight Children’s Foundation for a hospital visit and placement of a Starlight Fun Center™ mobile entertainment unit at Crozer-Chester Medical Center prior to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park on July 25.
There were smiles all around as Union players Michael Lahoud and Amobi Okugo joined representatives from MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, and Starlight Children’s Foundation to unveil the mobile Fun Center™ on Crozer’s Pediatrics Unit. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, children took part in crafts and games with the players.
The ease with which the Fun Centers roll right up to the side of young patients’ beds makes them perfect for hospitalized children. At Crozer, the Fun Center’s permanent home is on the Pediatrics Unit. The 23-bed unit provides care for infants through children up to 21 years old.
Barbara Schreiber, executive director of Starlight Children’s Foundation, MidAtlantic Region, explains that “Fun Centers are Starlight’s signature program. Everyone loves the Fun Centers. Naturally the kids do, but so do nurses, child life specialists, recreational and occupational therapists, doctors and parents. When kids spend time in the hospital, they’re missing out on a part of their childhood. In addition to entertainment, the Fun Center offers a welcome distraction and a bit of normalcy, helping with physical, mental and emotional healing. Putting smiles on kids’ faces during such a difficult time makes us all feel better.”
Patrick Gavin, president of Crozer-Chester Medical Center, echoes these sentiments. “Hospitalization is difficult for anyone—no matter how old they are—but it can be especially scary for children,” he says. “Our physicians, nurses and staff provide the skilled medical care that these kids need with a caring touch. The unit itself is bright, cheery, and has age-appropriate toys and games to keep children of all ages occupied while they are with us. But, as any parent can attest, having a gaming system not only occupies their time, it also does wonders for a sick child’s mental well-being. It helps decrease their fear and anxiety, and can actually aid in the healing process. We are thrilled to have a Fun Center here at Crozer, and are very grateful to the Philadelphia Union, MLS W.O.R.K.S. and Starlight Children’s Foundation for their generosity.”
“Several patients on our Pediatrics Unit have already benefitted from the healing power of play,” says Christopher Stenberg, M.B.Ch.B., chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Crozer. “We have had the unit for only a few weeks now, but it is wonderful to see the children’s faces light up when they see it coming into their room. Doctors and nurses have remarked on how happy they are to have the mobile entertainment unit for our patients. This was an incredibly generous gift and all of the care providers wish to express their gratitude.”
Since the FunCenter program’s inception in 2010, more than 8,000 units have been placed at more than 1,300 hospitals throughout the United States and Canada.
For more information about the Philadelphia Union, visit the team's website. To learn more about MLS W.O.R.K.S., visit the website. Starlight Children’s Foundation™ is a leading global health and education charity working to embrace, empower and enrich the lives of children from illness to wellness. Learn more by visiting their website.