LONG BRANCH – The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, recently launched Picture My Smile, a program that empowers chronically ill pediatric patients, ages 6 through 17, to express their voice through photography.
Funded by The Grainger Foundation through the Grainger Community Grant Program and The Cygnet Fund, Picture My Smile encourages creativity through the lens of a camera.
Chronically ill pediatric patient photographers from The Valerie Fund Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, The Comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis Center, The Center for Disorders of Insulin and Metabolism and The Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Program at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center are each provided with their own digital camera and access to a secure website to upload their photos. Photographers capture and share their pictures.
“For the child in long-term care, some days are good days and other days are going to be bad days. Many times a child can’t describe in their own words what they’re feeling or how they are feeling,” said Margaret C. Fisher, M.D., chair of pediatrics and medical director, The Unterberg Children’s Hospital. “Picture My Smile is the perfect venue for children. This gives them the opportunity to first of all show us what they’re seeing and what they’re thinking. I’m an absolute advocate for this program and for finding ways to make children use their minds to help their bodies.”
During the six-month program, pediatric photographers participate in online tutorials with professional photographers. Photographers also will have the opportunity for their photos to be displayed in the online Picture My Smile photo gallery, around the children’s hospital, and even auctioned off at Monmouth Medical Center events, with proceeds benefiting the programs and services at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital.
“Picture My Smile is an awesome opportunity for a child to be creative through the form of photography – to show who they are and develop a voice and to be fabulous through the lens of a camera,” said Tracy Brown, chair, The Unterberg Children’s Hospital Leadership Council. “These children are able to participate in a group that has nothing to do with their illness or their care, it’s about fun.”
The Grainger Foundation provides grants through the Grainger Community Grant Program to help address local community needs throughout the United States. In 2013, the foundation awarded 900 grants totaling $6.1 million to a wide variety of organizations in the areas of health and human services, food banks, disaster relief and technical education. Over the past four years, the Grainger Foundation has donated more than $37,000 to The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center to provide programs and services to the hospital’s youngest patients. The Cygnet Fund helps Monmouth Medical Center with financial support for research and education in the field of pediatrics.
Every donation, of time, materials or funds, helps support the Picture My Smile photographers and The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center.
To learn more about Picture My Smile or about ways to support the program, visit www.picturemysmile.org.
Additional information about The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center is available by visiting www.barnabashealth.org/uch.