MORRISTOWN, NJ —Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors from the Turtle Back Zoo at a gathering at Atlantic Health System’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital on May 17, 2019.
This special event was held to announce a partnership between the CALLING ALL KIDS STORYTIME NETWORK, sponsored by the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC), the Turtle Back Zoo and San Diego Zoo Kids. San Diego Zoo Kids is a closed-circuit television adventure channel produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.
The creation and development of the San Diego Zoo Kids channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities facilities across the nation over the next three years. The generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors at Goryeb Children’s Hospital.
San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.
"We are most grateful to San Diego Zoo Kids for launching their outstanding programming that is featured on WAMMC’s in-house television station at the medical center. As partners, we are dedicated to creating a nurturing environment and the San Diego Zoo Kids animal adventures can only enhance our efforts to offer some comfort and healing to our patients during their stay at the hospital,” said Mary Courtemanche, President of the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center.
WAMMC TV's Calling All Kids is a dedicated in-house television Channel 65 that features a professionally produced series of illustrated children's stories read by nurses, physicians, volunteers, celebrities, authors and now our young patients. Their mission is to bring smiles and laughter to all patients, the young and the young-at-heart, through entertaining and engaging original programming during their stay at the medical center. Visit our website at wammc.org/callingallkids.
“Being in the hospital can be a scary time for our young patients, and their families,” said Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, President, Morristown Medical Center, and Chief Nursing Officer, Atlantic Health System. “At Goryeb Children’s Hospital, we work to ensure that when they have to be here, they are provided with programs and activities that support their emotional health in addition to their physical healing, which is exactly what this new partnership aims to accomplish. We are incredibly grateful to the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center's Calling All Kids Storytime Network for their support of our patients.”
The channel also features animal stories from the Turtle Back Zoo. “Watching the joy and excitement in children’s eyes when they see exotic animals and learn about their place in nature is priceless,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “All children, whether they come to Turtle Back Zoo or are physically unable, should have the opportunity to experience this connection. We are pleased to partner with San Diego Zoo Kids and the Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center to bring fun, entertaining and educational television programming so all children can have their own wild adventure!”
The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids hosts Olivia Degn and Michelle Myers. Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as content from other zoos around the world.
“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”
San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 223 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 39 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, and Curaçao