August 26, 2016 (Sanford, FL) – Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors from Central Florida Zoo earlier today (Aug. 26, 2016), at a gathering at Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital. This special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids at the three facilities that bring hope and healing to thousands of families in the region as well as three top pediatric hospitals in Central Florida: Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida Hospital for Children and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
Funded through a generous gift from businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative closed-circuit television broadcast channel that provides family friendly, animal-oriented programming that is both entertaining and educational.
“We are very excited to have received this generous grant from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation to share with the children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald Houses,” said Lou Ann DeVoogd, president and chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. “It is a wonderful collaboration between the Ronald McDonald Houses, our pediatric hospitals, and the zoos, all focused on family-centered care for the children being treated in our community. It will be a nice diversion from everything the families are going through.”
A generous gift from the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation has made the channel available on TV monitors in every patient room, as well as in waiting areas at the three children’s hospitals and three Ronald McDonald Houses in Central Florida.
“We are pleased to partner with San Diego Zoo Global to provide San Diego Zoo Kids to the patients and their families at the three Ronald McDonald Houses in Central Florida, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida Hospital for Children and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children,” stated David A. Odahowski, president and chief executive officer, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation. “The primary focus of our foundation is to create innovative civic solutions that help improve the quality of life for Central Floridians. This program allows children and families to learn and explore while they heal.”
San Diego Zoo Kids offers up-close video encounters with animals, including a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global Ambassador Rick Schwartz. Viewers can see video from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the country.
“San Diego Zoo Kids has the ability to bring the zoo to young patients who don’t have the opportunity to visit,” said Douglas G. Myers, president and chief executive officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “The stories we tell through this channel not only entertain children and their families during what can be a stressful time, but hopefully inspire a new generation to appreciate wildlife and their natural habitats.”
The channel also will feature animal stories from the Central Florida Zoo. “We are thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking program,” stated Dr. Philip Flynn III, president and chief executive officer, Central Florida Zoo. “The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is dedicated to providing children of all ages, facing any and all obstacles, the opportunity to explore, learn and value wildlife and wild places around the world.”
San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 70 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 23 states across the United States, and in three countries.
About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Central Florida (RMHCCF), a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, finds, creates and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and families. RMHCCF provides compassionate care and resources to families staying at the three Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando: on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and Florida Hospital for Children. The three Ronald McDonald Houses serve 74 families each night, provide access to quality health care and enable family-centered care ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care. For more information, visit www.ronaldmcdonaldhouseorlando.org.
About Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, supported by the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, is a 158-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of children. Located in Orlando, Arnold Palmer Hospital provides expertise in pediatric specialties such as cardiac care, craniomaxillofacial surgery, critical care, emergency and trauma care, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, hematology/oncology, hospitalist services, orthopedics, pulmonology and sports medicine. In 2013, the hospital achieved Magnet® designation, the “gold standard” for nursing’s contribution to quality patient care, safety, research, and service excellence. Visit Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to learn more about all of our specialties.
About Florida Hospital for Children
Florida Hospital for Children is a seven-story, 201-bed state-of-the-art facility designed with the help of Walt Disney Imagineers, families and clinicians. Our team of over 135 highly skilled pediatric specialists delivers extraordinary care across more than 35 pediatric subspecialties, including a Children’s Emergency Department, the Level IV Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Center, a world-renowned Pediatric Heart Center and our Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With more than 23 pediatric specialty surgeons performing complex operations in a safe and child friendly environment, Florida Hospital for Children is a destination for health and healing. Learn more at FloridaHospitalforChildren.com.
Nemours (NAH-mors) is an internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, along with major pediatric specialty clinics in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. du Pont, Nemours offers pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to all families in the communities it serves. For more information, visit Nemours.org.
About Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation
The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation was founded in 1973. Since its creation, it has been enriched by the Richard J. Conlee Fund and the H. Clifford Lee Fund. To date, the Foundation has issued more than 3,600 grants to over 840 organizations, totaling upwards of $107 million. Board members are Gerald F. Hilbrich, Chairman; Herbert W. Holm, Vice Chairman; David A. Odahowski, President; Matthew W. Certo, Corporate Secretary; Elizabeth A. Dvorak; Anne B. Kerr, Ph. D., Harvey L. Massey; and Richard J. Walsh. For more information on the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, please visit www.edythbush.org.
About the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a 132 acre, private 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit conservation resource. With 500 animals representing more than 200 species, the Zoo provides the community with experiences that excite and inspire children and adults to learn and act on behalf of wildlife and wild places. The Zoo also operates the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation in Eustis, FL. For more information visit www.centralfloridazoo.org or call 407.323.4450. The Zoo is located on I-4 Exit 104 in Sanford and is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
About San Diego Zoo Global
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.