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UMass Memorial Health Awarded Play Grant by Children’s Hospital Association and The Toy Foundation

One of 19 children’s hospitals nationally selected for grant to the Healing Power of Play
Grant will extend reach of Child Life, create new Superheroes and support Slime Day

Worcester, Mass UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center announced it has been awarded a play grant from Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and The Toy Foundation (TTF). The Children’s Hospital Play Grant Program was created to bring the healing power of play to children in hospitals through projects incorporating play therapy into care services.

A hospital stay is often a stressful experience for children and their families. Opportunities for play can help relieve this stress, improve children’s well-being, and enhance treatment outcomes. The Children’s Hospital Play Grant Program projects are designed to improve pediatric care at hospitals, particularly in underserved communities, and strengthen the social, emotional, physical, and educational development of children whose needs may otherwise go unmet.

As one of 19 children’s hospitals to receive CHA and TTF funs, the $15,000 grant to the Children’s Medical Center will support current Child Life programs and bring new opportunities to the children. The funds will support the purchase of materials to strengthen current programs and bring more and better opportunities for play and being playful.

“We spread play and playfulness across our Children's Medical Center through theme days designed around the interests of our patients,” said Kendra Frederick, manager, Child Life. “We will now be able to do more celebrations/theme days that help to distract children from pain and isolation, make hospital settings less threatening.”

“Medical environments can be scary and impersonal,” said Chief of Pediatrics, Larry Rhein, MD. “Theme days soften the environment, offer fun and educational play opportunities, and help families see their kids as kids rather than patients. Parents and guardians are grateful for each laugh and smile and thank our teams for moments that reduce stress and bring levity and light.”

A high-quality child-centered medical experience requires services like language translation, patient navigators and child life specialists, costs that are not covered by insurance. When coupled with the high percentage of pediatric patients who are Medicaid insured, the CMC lacks funding to devote to theme days.

About UMass Memorial Health
UMass Memorial Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 15,500 employees and 2,100 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group and Harrington Physician Services. We are the clinical partner of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Our comprehensive system includes UMass Memorial Medical Center, UMass Memorial Health – Harrington, UMass Memorial Health – HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, UMass Memorial Health – Marlborough Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health – Community Healthlink. Together, we impact every aspect of life in the region by making health and wellness services available to everyone, advocating for social equality and providing economic stability and opportunity. There are many ways to heal. We pursue them all. Relentlessly. Visit .  

About The Toy Foundation
The Toy Foundation (TTF) is a 501 (c)3 children's charity whose mission is to provide philanthropic support and the vital commodity of play to children and families in need, across the country and globe. TTF's donations represent the charitable works of TTF and the toy industry. Last year, TTF provided $360K in cash grants to nearly 4 million children severely impacted by the pandemic. Since its inception in 2003, TTF's signature Toy Bank has provided $225 million in toys to more than 26 million underserved children coping with serious illness, enduring temporary home placements in the foster care system, living with domestic violence, and/or dealing with natural disasters. TTF is also broadening its mission to provide grant funding to children's hospitals to encourage healing through play and to foster a diverse and inclusive culture and pipeline of talent for the toy industry.

About Children's Hospital Association
The Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 200 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care. Follow us on Facebook @childrenshospitals and Twitter @hospitals4kids.