By AMANDA SMYTH (8th grade WMS)
Many people think all hospitals are sad, depressing places. However, when you walk into Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, you might be surprised by the cheery environment. There are multiple children’s works of art on display, there is a stage for performers, there are giant fish tanks and there are hallways lined with donated doll collections and sports memorabilia. There are also art pieces from multiple donors on display. The Children’s hospital helps the patients to feel better in a nice environment, mostly thanks to the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program.
The Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy program at Westchester Medical Center was created in 2006. This program was developed to help patients in the Children’s hospital cope with their illnesses through art therapy.
“Our patients and families love the art studio and art therapy program,” Gabrielle Bellettieri, the art therapist who created this program, said. She added, “Over the years we have offered more creative modalities including music therapy, creative writing, photography.”
Even though this program is fairly new, it has helped so many people, patients and their family members alike. This program can also be considered “the fun part of the hospital” because it helps to bring joy to the patients.
There are opportunities for people ages 16 years and older to volunteer in the art therapy program at the Maria Fareri Children’s hospital. Some ways people can volunteer include:
- Playroom volunteers assist with activities in the playroom such as arts and crafts and play sessions
- Bedside volunteers provide art activities for patients in their room
- Craft cart volunteers bring the craft cart to patient rooms
If your passion is art and you enjoy working with children, then this is a great way to volunteer and be surrounded by the things you love.