'Tis the Season at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital

Contact:Maureen Gillespie, Public Relations Manager
Phone:(732) 751-4166

'Tis the Season at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital

Local volunteer organizations bring joy and cheer to the youngest of patients

Santa Claus. Stocking-filled surprises. Festivals of Lights and Magical Snowmen. These are just a few of the joys that children around the world cherish during the holidays. And for kids in the hospital, these merry delights take on even more meaning. At K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital, the Child Life team - pediatric experts focused on creating a fun, supportive hospital environment - join with local volunteer groups to create magical holiday experiences for the youngest of believers.

"For children who are hospitalized, and their families, the holidays can be very stressful. But when volunteer groups visit kids in the hospital, families and patients feel the positive impact. And while the kids enjoy the toys and presents that often accompany these visits, the greater gift is the goodwill and support provided by the volunteers," says Steven Kairys, M.D., medical co-director, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital.

Child Life reduces the stress associated with illness through creative play, activities, education, and entertainment to create a light-hearted atmosphere that supports the emotional well-being of young patients and their families - especially important during Christmas and Hanukkah.

This holiday season, K. Hovnanian's Children's Hospital has unique participation from a variety of enthusiastic volunteer groups bringing smiles, joy and laughter to pediatric patients:

Michael's Feat:
*Santa Claus, along with Michael's Feat, an organization dedicated to giving comfort and easing the burden for parents carrying and caring for seriously ill newborns, visit the NICU.

Junior Ambassadors Reverse Gift Wrapping Party:
*The Junior Ambassadors, a teen volunteer group, host a "Reverse Gift-Wrapping Party," allowing young patients to play Santa and give gifts to their families and loved ones. By picking out and wrapping gifts provided by the Junior Ambassadors, the hospital's children enjoy the gift of giving - an important part of the holiday season.

Francis Foundation Annual Holiday Party:

*Every year, The Francis Foundation, a non-profit that aims to bring "smiles to seriously ill kids fighting cancer", hosts a holiday party at the hospital. Santa Claus is joined by kids, patients and families, who enjoy music, activities, face-painters and holiday merriment.

Casey Caregivers:
*Red Bank Catholic's Casey Care Givers, a group that reaches out to children in difficult situations by providing support, bring holiday cheer by singing Christmas carols and giving special gifts.

Neptune High School National Honor Society Readings:
*Members of Neptune High School's National Honor Society read favorite holiday classics to young patients.

Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh:
*The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, a local group that celebrates their Irish heritage while making a positive impact, provide a generous donation of toys, going from room to room visiting patients with Santa and Santa's Helpers.

Chabad Jewish Center:
*The Chabad Jewish Center visit children, bringing holiday gifts and joy.

Prep and Landing:
*To prepare for Santa's visit, the Prep and Landing volunteers go from room to room with "prep" packages for the kids, including milk and cookies, a placemat, personalized Santa hats, and a gift package for each child.

The Believe Project:

* The Believe Project, committed to delivering Christmas magic and holiday cheer to children who need it most, visit children in the hospital, providing creative activities and gifts.

About K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center:

K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the first and most comprehensive provider of pediatric care in Monmouth and Ocean counties. At the heart of Meridian Pediatric Network, the hospital includes a pediatric emergency department and acute care units supported by over 100 pediatric sub-specialists working together with community pediatricians to deliver the most complete, most coordinated care for kids in our communities. Whether it's complex surgery or treatment for a chronic condition, the team of physicians, nurses and caregivers at K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital treats each child as one of their own in a friendly and convenient setting, close to home. For more information about K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, call 1-800-DOCTORS, or visit www.khovnanianchildrenshospital.com.