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“My impression was how much fun the place was. Could you imagine a group of kids in a life threatening situation, taking drugs that really made them feel awful, acting as if they were having the time of their lives? And what was more amazing was that when it was time to go home, the kids would cry that they wanted to stay!”
The playroom environment found in each of The Valerie Fund Centers offers a number of therapeutic items designed to help children learn about their illness through play. These include medical teaching dolls, such as "Zadie," "Charlie," and "Shadow Buddies"; computer software which provides fun and educational games; relaxation programs; puppets used primarily with children ages 3-6; doll houses used as a tool to address family issues; and multi-ethnic dolls used in role play and storytelling for children from various ethnic backgrounds.
In addition, there are many toys and games to entertain and distract young patients and other children who accompany them, to pass the time during treatment or while waiting to be seen by a doctor or other staff member. The playroom setting allows for better communication between The Valerie Fund staff and the pediatric patients by relaxing the child.
“They make it fun for me because they make me forget what I’m there for.”
Equally as important as the toys and computers in establishing a child-friendly setting is the atmosphere. Each child life center is decorated so as to be a warm, comforting, home-like environment. Patients’ art work is prominently displayed, bright colors and whimsical scenes and figures adorn the walls, and furniture is comfortable and child-sized.
If you could like to learn about specific funding opportunities for this program, please contact Lori Abrams at (973) 761-0422 or LAbrams@TheValerieFund.org.
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