Child Life Discover

2016 Issue 3
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Garth Brooks Visits the Zone

On July, 7th the Child Life Zone welcomed Garth Brooks and his band while they spent a few hours with our patients engaging in conversation and laughter. Brooks is a co-founder of Teammates for Kids, the foundation that brought the Zone to Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai. Brooks and the members of his band sat with the patients and families playing games, creating pieces of artwork, and taking pictures. Following these interactions, the group stepped in front of the camera in KidZone TV to broadcast a unique show to our pediatric patients and families who were unable to leave their rooms. As you can see from the photos below, a great time was had by the patients and their families, as well as all of the members of the band.

Diane Rode, director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, said of the visit “I can attest to the absolute healing power of Garth's warm presence among our pediatric patients and the hope that his relationship with them inspires.  We are grateful every day for the power of The Zone in helping us to humanize healthcare for our seriously ill children and their families. Thank you, Garth, for your spectacular visit to our Child Life Zone and for all that you do for children across the country!"


Watch Garth's visit!

Inspiring Art

On Sunday, May 22nd 2016 the patients and families of Kravis Children’s Hospital had the incredible opportunity to participate in the annual “Express Yourself” ArtWorks exhibit, hosted by the Naomi Cohain Foundation at the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life. 

Founded in 2002, ArtWorks, The Naomi Cohain Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to improving the healthcare experience of pediatric patients through the arts. ArtWorks provides children and young adults battling chronic and life-limiting illnesses, and their siblings, access to creative and performing arts programs that serve as a vehicle for healing, communication, self-expression and personal development.

Our creative team in the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department looks forward to the Express Yourself show every year as we know that it’s a unique opportunity for our patients to connect with other young people and families coping with illness and hospitalization, through the arts. Throughout the entire year our art therapists, music therapists and child life specialists support patients in their goal to have their original art, music, or performance displayed and presented at this exciting day-long celebration of creativity and individual expression. This year, we were delighted to have several young artists participate with sculpture, painting, drawing, and stop motion animation submissions! For more information about ArtWorks 2017, please contact art therapist . We are already excited for next year!

Art Works Show


Music Video Stars!

This past May, Youth Advisory Council members, along with Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy staff, starred in a Music Video for the Child Life Zone song "Do What You Love" alongside singer Luke Wade. The song was created by patients at Mount Sinai, as well as Cook Children’s Hospital in Texas, and the concept for the Music Video was designed by KidZone TV Manager, Mathea Jacobs. The song is a reminder that no matter who or where you are, it is important to “Do what you love” and not let anything stop you.


Watch the Music Video!



The KidZone TV Report

The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department hosted their annual KidZone TV Intensive, a two-day in-house workshop dedicated to creating and advancing a pediatric hospital channel.  The department hosted ten guests from seven different hospitals across the country.  Some participants were learning to enhance their already running studio, while others were just breaking ground on their new programming. Over the course of two days, attendees participated in an action-packed schedule of immersive learning opportunities and were given a hands-on approach to all aspects of building, running, and maintaining a closed circuit studio while maintaining a therapeutic lens. Intensive guests were challenged to create original stop-motion movies and later produced a brand new live show to test what they have learned.

KidZone TV is also proud to present their new initiative called Backstage Pass, a time during which patients and families who are cleared to come to the Zone are given an all-access pass to the KZTV Studio. During this Backstage Pass time, patients can create shows, work the cameras and sound, watch from the audience or host a show! Backstage Pass hosts a different activity each week, such as art, 3D printing, stop motion animation, or green screen fun!

Sharing what we love with other pediatric professionals


SPS / Family Engagement

On June 23rd, the Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai hosted the third annual Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) symposium, titled "Frontline Staff Engagement: Using SPS to make the Bedside Safe."  Clinicians from ten different New York children's hospitals met to share and discuss data and procedures related to prevention of hospital acquired conditions. Patients and parents from both Mount Sinai’s Youth and Family Advisory Councils sat on a panel and provided valuable perspectives on child life services, the importance of the physician-patient relationship, and the empowerment that can be instilled in families by staff through daily education about their child's illness and the treatment they are receiving.  

Mount Sinai Hospital's President, David Reich, lauded the progressive mission of SPS and the collaboration of participating hospitals, affirming that, "we will not compete when it comes to patient safety."  


Patient Corner

Just because patients are hospitalized, doesn’t mean the creative process stops flowing. Here is an inspiring poem written by one of our teen patients during her hospitalization. This piece can also be seen in the most recent edition of SURGE magazine.

I am a girl
I am a girl fighting cystic fibrosis
I am a girl that has to do a lot of things
I believe I will get better
I dream for a cure
I wonder how this all started
I’m scared of needles, I’m scared of blood
I feel like un gato timido
I love my family when they come to visit,
Especially my little sister
I like squeezing her cheeks, she laughs, she smiles
I laugh when I see my little sister is happy
I will go to Mexico
I will fight for my life
I will promise to drink my medicine
I will fight to get a dog

-Anali, age 13

Staff Accomplishments and Updates

Please join us in welcoming 4 new wonderful additions to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department: Marianne Porzelt, Elise Hebel, and Jaclyn Damiano (left to right)

MariannePorzelt is one of the Child Life Specialists in the Emergency Department and enjoys being able to help children and families during difficult times in this setting. In her free time, Marianne likes to spend time with family and friends and really enjoys the beach and snowboarding.

Elise Hebel is overjoyed to join the Child Life & Creative Arts Therapy Department as the weekend Child Life Assistant Fellow. A master's candidate at Bank Street and a kindergarten teacher, Elise is an avid runner, reader, singer, and art maker and one of a set of triplets from New Haven, Connecticut. She enjoys all manner of arts and crafts, from knitting to giant puppet making, and will gleefully join in any sing-along. 

Jaclyn Damiano is the Creative Arts Therapy Coordinator and facilitates individual and group creative arts therapy sessions for infants, children, adolescents and families in both inpatient and outpatient settings in order to support positive coping, reduce anxiety and promote developmentally appropriate normalization of experience in the hospital setting. In her time outside the hospital Jaclyn enjoys oil painting, running, and meditation practices.

Gabriela Ortiz, Music Therapist, has been selected to present her research project entitled: Preparation, Integration & Instrumentation: Child Life and Music Therapy Research in the Pediatric Emergency Department at the Child Life of Greater New York annual conference. She will be presenting alongside Jessa Carey, Child Life Specialist at NYU.

Todd O’Connor, Music Therapist, will be presenting at the American Music Therapy Association conference in November.  The presentation is entitled: Holding the Medical Space: Integrating Technology into Pediatric Medical Music Therapy Practice.

Lauren Smith, Art Therapist and Child Life Specialist, recently presented at the American Art Therapy Association National Conference in July. Her presentation was called “Two Brothers, One Heart: Bridging Home & Hospital through a Community of Care". The presentation was also converted into an online course for the Institute for Continuing Education in Art Therapy and is available at  Lauren will also be joining Pratt Institute's Graduate Department of Creative Arts Therapy as a part-time faculty member as a Thesis Advisor starting this fall.

Diane Rode, Director of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, led a full day intensive at the Annual Child Life Council Conference this past May on Clinical Supervision. She also gave a presentation on Presence and Reflection: Fostering Resilience for Patients, Families, and Staff Through the Arts at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in April.

Sarah Yazdian, Art Therapist and Child Life Specialist, will be presenting a webinar for the Child Life Council entitled “Beyond the Pediatric Wards: Providing Child Life Consults in the Adult World.”

Following last year’s pilot, The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy now provides services to the pediatric Metabolic Clinic, including Child Life and Music Therapy services.

Check us out on Facebook to learn about more recent happenings.


The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1153
New York, NY 10029