Starlight Connect - Arizona - Winter 2011
Fun CenterTM Program Reaches Milestone
Starlight has just passed a very special milestone — we placed our 7,000th Fun Center mobile entertainment unit in November! The unit became the 20th Fun Center to bring therapeutic fun to young patients at Driscoll Children’s Medical Center in Corpus Christi, which provides care to children from 33 counties in South Texas. It was placed in the hospital’s Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation Department.
“In the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation Department, the Fun Center will be used by children and families in crisis situations — allowing our young patients to watch movies or play video games while they wait or while they receive care,” explains forensic nurse Carol McLaughlin. “Children who are sent to our program have endured things that have resulted in their removal from their home environment. They arrive scared and afraid of the unknown. The Fun Center gives them a distraction at the most difficult time of their life.”
First introduced by Starlight and Nintendo of America in 1991, the Fun Center program has grown year after year based on an increasing demand from hospitals, patients and their families. In the program’s earliest days, Boston Consulting Group analysts engaged to help Starlight optimize the program predicted that demand would cease after we had placed 3,000. Instead, even after reaching the 7,000-mark, hospital demand shows no sign of slowing down. Our current wait list includes 470 hospitals in the United States and Canada requesting more than 1,100 new units to better serve their pediatric patients.
“When I was in the hospital, the bleak white walls, beeping IV, cramped restrooms, creaky beds, and gross medication were hard to deal with. The only time I felt like a normal kid was when the nurses brought the Fun Center into my room,” said Starlight teen Michelle about her stay in a California hospital. “It’s amazing how much better you feel when you simply forget that you are sick. It’s like this imaginary wall appears and you get to be a normal teen for a few moments. While you’re playing on the Fun Center, you forget the pain, tune out the beeps and get lost in your own world — whether in a car with Mario, on a snowboard in the Rockies, or on a jet ski in Hawaii. Or maybe you laugh with Buzz and Woody or cry with your mom at a Julia Robert’s movie. The Fun Center gave me an opportunity to forget where I was and feel normal again.”
To make sure that Fun Centers are always in working order, Starlight has consistently provided technical support for the lifetime of each unit. This year, however, Starlight has been able to unveil a more robust service program to better serve our hospital partners with a new technical support phone hotline and online resources.
“Our goal is to ensure that no Fun Center goes unused because of a broken part or technology problem,” says Starlight AVP of Operations Claudia Linh. “Our new-and-improved technical support program means that children will have more opportunities for therapeutic fun, hospital staff will have an easier time keeping the units in good repair and sponsors can feel confident that their Fun Center gifts will continue to brighten lives everyday for many years.”
Click here if you would like to help bring a Fun Center to a hospital on Starlight’s wait list or a favorite hospital in your community.
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