Hollywood Foreign Press Association Helps CHLA Heal Patients Through The Arts | BH Courier

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Helps CHLA Heal Patients Through The Arts

"Dancing With The Stars" professional ballroom dancer Val Chmerkovskiy takes part in a dance movement therapy session at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with patient Josalin Escorcia, 6.
"Dancing With The Stars" professional ballroom dancer Val Chmerkovskiy takes part in a dance movement therapy session at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with patient Josalin Escorcia, 6.

Posted: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 – 4:00 PM

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is continuing its support for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) with its second $25,000 grant to drive collaboration between the entertainment community and the hospital’s Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program. Led by certified expressive arts therapists and partners in the community, the Artists Program uses music, dance, drama and other arts to address the physical and emotional challenges faced by hospitalized infants, children, teens and young adults.  The grant brings the HFPA’s total commitment to the Artists Program to $50,000.

In partnership with the hospital’s Hollywood Cares for Kids program, the Artists Program will use the grant to integrate professionals and artists in the entertainment industry into the program. For example:

• Professional animators can teach young patients about communicating through the world of cartoons;

• Filmmakers can introduce young people to the power of narrative storytelling;

• Writers and composers can help patients find their inner voice through one-on-one song writing sessions with their music therapist;

• Musical artists can provide private music performances and engage in art and music workshops.

“CHLA is committed to treating the whole child, recognizing the critical role that a child’s spirit plays in the course of healing,” said Alex Field, manager, Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program.  “Through drama, music, dance, and the visual and expressive arts, we help children find ways to convey their emotions, ask questions they have not found the words to ask and feel a bit more in control of their lives. Young people can also discover a new talent, develop a new interest, or enjoy a form of art they have never experienced before, creating a budding life-long appreciation for the arts.” 

CHLA was one of the several  nonprofits that benefited from the nearly $2.4 million dollars gifted this month by the HFPA, the organization known for hosting the Golden Globes. The group annually donates to entertainment-related nonprofits, foundations and schools.

“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association unreservedly gives this grant to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to help nurture the relationship they have with the entertainment industry,” said HFPA President Lorenzo Soria. “The result of two industries coming together for one cause is powerful, moving and inspiring.”

“The entertainment community has the capacity in many unique ways to positively impact the children we serve,” said Lyndsay Hutchison, director, Hollywood Cares for Kids.   “Whether the child is an aspiring artist or just facing a very tough road ahead, having the chance to work with an industry professional brings a level of encouragement and renewed excitement.  From writers to animators to musicians and actors, the entertainment community offers a wide array of expertise in their respective fields, providing a tremendous asset in helping children find their voice.”

In addition to its emotional impact, the Artists Program has a physiological effect on children that contributes to healing, Hutchinson said.  “Research has shown that heart rates slow, blood pressure decreases, and the perception of pain declines when patients pick up a musical instrument, sing a song or see a live performance up close.  In the hospital’s Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit, staff members have reported the slowing of heart and pulse rates in premature infants upon the first musical note they hear, and mothers have found a new way to bond with babies they cannot yet hold by simply singing to them. At CHLA, the arts are indispensable to the therapeutic process, facilitating recovery and rehabilitation.”

In the last fiscal year, our Artists Program impacted the lives of more than 33,000 patients and family members.  The program runs year-round, seven days per week, and can be found in individual patient rooms, group play areas and lounges, lobbies and even hallways of every floor. 

Members of the entertainment industry can learn more about Artist Program volunteer opportunities by emailing lhutchison@chla.usc.edu or call 323.361.4121.

Visit CHLA.org/ArtistProgram and CHLA.org.HollwoodCares for more information. 

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