St. Mary’s Debuts Mobile Art Therapy Cart

Children and officials from St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital, along with donors and other partners, introduce a new arts-and-crafts mobile cart at the hospital.

The children of St. Mary’s Children Hospital in Bayside will now have their arts-and-crafts materials brought to them in style.

The hospital recently debuted a new mobile arts-and-crafts cart that is filled with paint, clay, glue and other artistic materials provided by A.C. Moore.

The cart was a gift from the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, an organization that works to empower hospitalized teenagers with social events and activities. Gisele DiNatale, who founded the foundation with her husband, Mario, said that the cart was inspired by their own experiences. The DiNatales’ daughter, Alicia, spent 13 months in and out of children’s hospitals battling cancer before her death in 2002. Arts and crafts helped make the experience bearable for Alicia.

“Art is very therapeutic in many, many ways,” Gisele said. “This is Alicia’s art cart, and we want this rolling in the halls and we want this available for all children and teens to be able to express themselves and to muddle through this very, very difficult process.”

For Daria Swinton, the creative arts therapist at St. Mary’s, the new cart was a welcome addition—she currently shuttles her art materials around on a food cart between the inpatient and outpatient centers.

“Last week, one of the wheels almost fell off my cart,” she said. “This is like a dream. I don’t think [the new cart] is going to fall apart anytime soon.”

In her seven years at the hospital, Swinton has seen the positive effects of art therapy firsthand, noting that even skeptical children come to love it. One young girl, whom Swinton has worked with for five years, hated art when she first entered the hospital. Now, she seeks out Swinton to do crafts.

“These children who are nonverbal or they have congenital diseases and stuff, I like the fact that art therapy brings a sense of normalcy while in this environment,” she said. “With the outpatient kids…they take a great sense of pride in their accomplishments. It’s just such a joy to see them. Whereas they might not be able to do some things—if they can’t use their hands, we use hand over hand and help them, and the ones that can speak can tell us what colors they want, what paint, what clay. So, it’s all in their control, and that’s so important.”

Dr. Edwin Simpser, the president and CEO of St. Mary’s, echoed Swinton’s praise of art therapy, suggesting it helps create a positive environment in which children can heal.

“Art therapy is an important component of the work that we do for our kids,” he said. “Part of the work that we do in a place like this where you’re sick all of the time, and dealing with nurses and doctors all the time, [is to provide] outlets, ways that you can express yourself, other than just complaining about what’s going on around you. To be able to express yourself through art is very powerful and very important for our kids and for part of their healing environment.”

Source article published here by the Queens Tribune. Reach James Farrell at (718) 357- 7400 x 127, jfarrell@queenstribune.com or @farrellj329.

 

About Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation

Strength and Support for Hospitalized Teens.

Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation (ARVF, Corp.) is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization located in Voorhees, NJ. ARVF provides adolescent programs, and activities to enhance the quality of life for hospitalized teens battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Since 2002, Victorious 4 Teens programs have helped more than 75,000 critically ill teens and their families during hospitalization. The Foundation has raised over $2 million funding 63 Teen Lounges, where young teen patients can hang out, watch movies, listen to music, play video games, and/or use computers. ARVF has also distributed over 16,000 Teen Kits & Bandana Pillows to hospitalized teens, supplied mobile Arts & Crafts Carts and hosted Proms in children’s hospitals. For more information about ARVF and to find out how you can help hospitalized teens, visit www.victoriousfoundation.org.


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