SOUTH SHORE — La Rabida Children’s Hospital is the first beneficiary of a new partnership between two foundations that want to help out kids.
Joy in Childhood Foundation is providing funding to the Starlight Foundation for a new community kitchen and to provide more whimsical hospital gowns at the hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Drive.
Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at the hospital, said kids are often in the hospital for extended periods of time undergoing painful procedures.
“One of the ways to get kids to through these painful experiences is to have something to look forward to,” Harper said.
She said looking forward to making a pizza or recuperating from a brain injury by learning to follow simple directions like a recipe can be really important for kids and that can’t happen in the tiny kitchen as it is.
“We can’t get a child in a wheelchair in there and we really can’t get more than one person in there,” Harper said.
The Joy in Childhood Foundation is contributing approximately $250,000 to renovate the hospital kitchen and is devoting $1.5 million to do similar work at other children’s hospitals across the country.
Javaze Hart’s 12-year-old son Keith is in a wheelchair and can’t get into the kitchen, which has been tough for her.
“My son likes to eat and I’m a mom that likes to cook,” Hart said.
She said Keith has been in and out of the hospital since he was 3 years old and having the kitchen is a big deal when they are basically living at the hospital for extended periods of time.
“I’m really thankful and excited about the kitchen,” Keith said.
The Starlight Foudation is also rolling out new hospital gowns for kids that have playful patterns on them, but more importantly are easier for kids to put on and take off themselves, restoring a small sense of independence and control.
Christoper de Haan, vice president of communications for Starlight, said the foundation is expecting to provide as many as 100,000 such gowns for free to hospitals across the country and is shipping out the first 40,000 in April.
Brenda Wolf, president of La Rabida, said the hospital is grateful for what these efforts do to help restore some of a normal childhood to their patients.
“It’s our job to make sure that while a child is hospitalized they can have a childhood,” Wolf said.
La Rabida is expected to be among the first hospitals to get the new gowns.