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Teen Volunteer Introduces the Barnabas Kids Activity Kart to Patients of The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center

Debra Peterson, Kylie, Chris and Todd Katz, Bill Arnold, Frank J. Vozos, Meg Fisher, and Bob Mataranglo
Debra Peterson, Kylie, Chris and Todd Katz, Bill Arnold, Frank J. Vozos, Meg Fisher, and Bob Mataranglo

Monmouth Medical Center volunteer Kylie Katz recently helped introduce the Barnabas Kids Activity Kart to bring smiles to the faces of pediatric patients at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center.

The Activity Kart, donated by Kylie’s family in honor of her deceased grandfather Larry Katz, is a mobile activity cart loaded with games, puzzles, activities and arts and crafts. Manned by volunteers, the Kart can be easily maneuvered around the pediatric floor to engage young hospital patients with playful interaction.

A sophomore at Biotech High School in Freehold, Kylie began volunteering at Monmouth Medical Center when she was 13. Her responsibilities initially included directing visitors to various parts of the hospital, as well as delivering flowers and gifts to patients throughout the hospital.

When Kylie realized she wanted to spend more time with younger patients, she worked directly with Meg Fisher, M.D., chair of pediatrics at Monmouth and medical director of The Unterberg Children’s Hospital and Laura Siemientkowski, volunteer coordinator, to develop Barnabas Kids Activity Kart program.

“For the patient, it brings back a sense of fun and innocence that a stay in the hospital can sometimes hinder, and, for the volunteers, the program empowers us to make a difference in the life of someone who is going through a difficult time,” said Kylie. “My grandpa loved kids, especially his seven grandchildren. I think he would be proud of this program.”

In addition to helping create the concept of the Activity Kart, Kylie also enlisted the help of others to turn the idea into a reality – including local artist and family friend, Bob Mataranglo, to transform the cart itself into a work of art on wheels, as well as friends and classmates to volunteer with the program.

The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center offers the highest level of pediatric services for newborns to adolescents, including cutting-edge treatment, specialized expertise and an unsurpassed dedication to medical excellence in 26 pediatric subspecialty areas.

For more information on The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center or for volunteer opportunities, contact Laura Siemientkowski at lsiemientkowski@barnabashealth.org or visit www.barnabashealth.org.

PHOTO: (left to right) Debra Peterson, Clinical Director of Pediatrics and Pediatric ICU, The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center;  Kylie, Chris and Todd Katz, Trustee, Monmouth Medical Center;  Bill Arnold, Chief Operating Officer, Monmouth Medical Center; Frank J. Vozos, M.D., FACS, President and Chief Executive Officer, Monmouth Medical Center;  Meg Fisher, M.D., Chair of Pediatrics and Medical Director of The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical; Bob Mataranglo, local artist and Katz family friend.

About Monmouth Medical Center
Located in Long Branch, N.J., Monmouth Medical Center, a Barnabas Health facility, along with The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, is one of New Jersey's largest teaching hospitals and has been an affiliate of Philadelphia’s Drexel University College of Medicine for more than 40 years. From its earliest days, Monmouth Medical Center has been a leader in surgical advancement and has introduced many technological firsts to the region, including robotic surgery and other minimally invasive techniques. The hospital is routinely recognized by HealthGrades, the nation’s largest premier independent health care quality company, for excellence in both emergency medicine and maternity care. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Monmouth as a regional leader in cancer, geriatrics, gynecology, neurology and neurosurgery. For more information on Monmouth Medical Center, visit www.barnabashealth.org/monmouth.

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