The Living Room Program
A room designed with youth in mind – To Life Foundation wanted to create a vibrant oasis away from treatments and hospital beds.
One of the challenges that many youth experience during their hospital stays is finding a place to keep their mind off their illness. Unfortunately, in many cases the only place to “hang out” is the pediatric playroom, a T.V. room, or the hospital cafeteria.
The Living Room is a bright, energetic space designed with modern furnishings, and is home to a myriad of fun activities including: computers with the latest video games, basketball hoops, age-appropriate reading materials, comics, music (MP3s and DVDs), musical instruments etc.
The Living Room is a place to meet with friends and family, a place to chill out and read a great book, and a place to learn a few new guitar chords – it’s like being at home.
“…So off we went to our room, we kissed daddy goodbye and the two of us snuggled in a single hospital bed, I barely shut my eyes. As soon as he woke, he asked if we were going home…he asked every doctor, every nurse, orderly, even other patients! He wanted out of there, despite the fact that he could barely walk.
Around 10:00 that first morning, the nurse came in and told us all about the “play room”. My son quickly rose and asked if we could go…”of course” let’s get you up and moving.
We walked down the long hall and as we turned the bend, I saw his eyes light up…a computer?, a flat screen tv! Playstation and games galore…DVDs, books all presented in a modern and inviting space that immediately took the gloom out of the air and lifted his spirits in a way I couldn’t have imagined. The remainder of his stay was like a vacation, instead of asking everyone when he was leaving, he was asking when the “play room” was going to open.
In the time that we spent at MMC, I saw many sick children walking down that long hall towards the center and saw joy that I will never forget. Teens and tweens played video games and surfed the internet. Small children played on the other side of the room with dolls and trains and puzzles watching age-appropriate videos and just being kids.
My son’s experience also inspired his older brother. Racking his brain on what to do his bar mitzvah project on, the answer came shortly after Hunter was released from the hospital. He hosted a basketball fundraiser for his grade and raised money for the foundation. The youth lounge was able to buy Guitar Hero, a karaoke machine as well as 3 video games and a keyboard stand, further enhancing the amazing facility.”
“Hi, my name is Hunter and I am 8 years old.
When I was in the hospital for my knee, I was very scared. I didn’t like the hospital and I definitely didn’t want to sleep there. The day I woke up in the hospital, the nurse told us about the room. When I first saw the room, I was thrilled. I saw a Playstation 3, a computer and lots of video games.
It made me feel like I was home in my playroom and that made me feel happy. I can’t imagine if I had to stay in the hospital for a week without the room. It made me forget that I was even in the hospital. I know that any kid would have felt the same way that I did.
When I left the hospital, I gave the room my favorite video game so that other kids could play with it. It was the first thing I ever donated and it felt so good to help others. I am thankful to Ezra for making the room.
I hope all of you will help keep Ezra’s dream alive.”
Quotes from patients who have enjoyed spending time
in the Ezra Abraham to Life Foundation Activity Room at HSS:
“I enjoyed the playroom, because it had many different projects, games, and DVDs to keep the patients entertained. Whether the patients are lying flat or sitting up, the playroom has something for them to do.”
– Sari, Age 11
“I liked the activity room during my stay, because I got to get out of my room and have somewhere to play – and beat my mom at Scrabble!”
– Justin, Age 13
The Live Life Program
The Live Life program provides in-hospital activities, events, and therapies which help build a patient’s self-esteem and take the focus away from being ill, isolated, or under stress.
To Life Foundation co-ordinates, with the help of hospital counselors, customized activities based on a patient’s interests. Whether it be guitar lessons, karaoke night with friends and family, or art lessons, the request of each patient is fulfilled to the best of our ability.
The Hats Off to Life Program
One of the most remarkable donors to The Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation is the Hats Off to Life fundraiser headed by Margi Bijou, The Hat Lady. Inspired by the life of her cousin Ezra and named by her sister, Hats Off to Life is truly a goodwill enterprise. With an extensive collection of vintage dress hats and insight as to the trouble ladies go through to find a hat (which is costly and usually only worn once) Margi came up with the idea of renting out these unique hats. Not only do customers pay only one-third of the original hat price, the money is donated to the To Life foundation.
Just through word-of-mouth, the idea of lending out hats to raise money for To Life Foundation became an instant success. Designers and people all over the country have been donating their old hats to Margi. With a constantly growing collection, and consent from her husband Albert, Margi converted one of the rooms in their home into “The Hat Room.”
When people can reuse resources, save money, and do it for a good cause, it is an instant success. Hats Off to Life is proof as to how something so small can make a big difference.
To learn more about Margi Bijou and the Hats Off to Life Program, please visit www.hatsofftolife.com.
The To Life Foundation gratefully accepts all donations to support children and families facing life-threatening illnesses.