It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…window washer? Yesterday, window washers-cum-superheroes descended on Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA to the delight of 25 hospitalized children and their families. The two-hour event, put on by the hospital’s Chase Child Life Program (with the help of Sunland Building Services and Window Cleaning), is one way in which Mattel helps their littler patients cope with being sick.
Child Life programs utilize Child Life specialists, men and women who help children express their feelings through art or other types of therapy. “Our mission is to help kids cope with their hospitalization,” said Kellye Carroll, Director of the Chase Child Life Program. “We offer developmentally appropriate support for toddlers all the way up through adolescents, helping them to understand why they’re in the hospital so that they have a sense of control over their situation. Yesterday’s event was an example of therapeutic and normalizing play.”
Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America used a window-washing platform to lower themselves from the roof to the hospital’s fifth floor terrace. “One 4-year-old girl started jumping up and down when she saw Batman on the roof!” Carroll said. “This is something freestanding hospitals across the country have done, but I’ve never seen it in Southern California, or at a children’s hospital within an adult facility. What was fun was that on the three floors above the terrace, you could see adult patients peeking out of their windows, too.”
The Chase Child Life Program at UCLA is endowed by the Chase Foundation (its naming sponsor). Started in 1992 by Susan and Robin Richards, who lost their son Chase to a brain tumor when he was just two years old, the Chase Foundation seeks to provide the financial support necessary to keep Child Life programs in Los Angeles funded. “They’re wonderful in that the point of their foundation is to make sure that no hospitalized child or their siblings go without having the services of Child Life in the hospital,” Carroll said.
In addition to supporting the Child Life program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since 2000, Chase Foundation made a 20-year commitment to fund the Child Life Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital, a partnership that began in 2010. For information on becoming a volunteer or sponsor, visit the Chase Foundation’s website.