Child Life Specialist Spotlight: Lee Russeth, CCLS, at The Valley Hospital

Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS) are the hospital heroes that make magic with Starlight programs. Every day they apply their expertise to programs like Starlight Gaming, Hospital Gowns, Deliveries, and more, creating the best experiences for the seriously ill kids in their care.  

Lee Russeth is one of these amazing superstars. For the past nine years, Lee has worked as a Child Life professional and when she saw a chance to support The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey as their first and only CCLS, she eagerly took on the challenge to become a “one-person program.”

Since starting this new journey, she has loved her experience and is able to impact so many kids across all areas of the hospital! 

“Within the Valley Health System, I am able to provide child life services to general pediatrics, the NICU, and the emergency room; I also go to procedures with patients, which includes the OR, ultrasound, CT, MRI — I basically can go wherever there are pediatric patients. I am also available for patients at the Developmental Center, and the off-site surgical center.”    

Lee helps so many kids facing an array of illnesses and injuries, so she needs a variety of resources to best support her patients. One of her favorite programs is Starlight Deliveries, which allow her to build her inventory of toys, games, crafts, and other fun items to meet the needs of any child that comes to the hospital.

“The items I ordered (free of charge!) for the Valley Health System certainly brought smiles, joy, and happiness to our pediatric patients. The materials have also assisted them in coping with their medical challenges, and normalized the hospital environment for them.” 

In addition to her love of Starlight Deliveries, Lee has found that our Hospital Gowns make such a difference for her patients.  

"They are a big hit here at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ! The staff on pediatrics absolutely love them. I also took some to the pediatric emergency department, and they are raving about them — ‘so cute,’ ‘adorable,’ and ‘can we get more’ were just some of the positive comments.” 

Starlight is so grateful for the hard work and dedication of child life specialists like Lee. When we deliver our programs to partners like The Valley Hospital, we know that these passionate healthcare heroes will make sure that they bring smiles to sick kids.

You can help bring even more programs to support the work of Child Life professionals. Give today!

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