New York Life Foundation grants $5,000 to support Renown Child Life Program Foundation

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Renown Health press release:

Renown Children’s Hospital recently announced it has been awarded a grant through the New York Life Foundation’s Competitive Grants Program. The New York Life Foundation annually awards up to 40 grants of $5,000 nationwide to the most compelling children-related projects submitted by eligible New York Life employees, agents or retirees.

The $5,000 grant will go in support of Shadow Buddies for the Child Life Program at Renown Children’s Hospital. Shadow Buddies are a distinctive form of play therapy. They are condition-specific dolls designed to be a friend for seriously ill children. Not only are they meant to comfort the child but they also provide a hands-on method for educating newly diagnosed children and their families about a particular medical condition and its treatment.

The grant also covers the Know Your Buddy kit, which provides training materials for Renown’s Child Life Specialists to offer physicians and staff on helping children heal with Shadow Buddies.

“I am proud to be actively involved with Renown Children’s Hospital,” said Scott Heitzenrader, assistant vice president, Information Systems, and a volunteer from New York Life’s Reno Corporate Information Department. “This organization is making a difference in our community and I am pleased to support its mission.” Heitzenradar has been a volunteer with Renown Health’s Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) for two years.

“By funding the Shadow Buddies Program, this $5,000 grant will provide help 350 pediatric patients understand their illness or disease,” said Joel Muller, vice president at the Renown Health Foundation. “We are thankful to have a great volunteer like Scott and appreciate the generosity of his employer, New York Life, for recognizing his charitable work.”

Research has shown that stress can be a major inhibitor in a patient’s ability to heal and remain healthy. The Renown Child Life Program uses certified specialists who are experts in child development and promote effective coping through play, preparation, education and self-expression activities. Child Life provides emotional support for families and encourages optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences. Renown sees approximately 27,000 children annually and is the only regional hospital offering a Child Life Program with two full-time certified child life specialists who see nearly 20 children a day, helping them prepare for surgery or cope with a chronic medical condition.

The New York Life Foundation, established in 1979 by New York Life Insurance Company, makes contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its Nurturing the Children initiative, the foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities.

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