That’s why Michaels, together with the company’s charity partner, Starlight Children’s Foundation, donated four mobile gaming centers to Niswonger Tuesday morning.
The new Starlight Fun Centers, according to Niswonger Child Life Manager Amanda Ward, are hospital-grade gaming systems that can be wheeled right up to the patients’ hospital beds.
The mobile video game systems play Nintendo Wii U games and are particularly beneficial for patients who are in isolation or can’t leave their rooms, Ward said.
“This is something we can bring to them at bedside,” Ward said. “The hospital can be a threatening and uncomfortable environment for children, so it’s our role as child life specialists to bring normalization and fun opportunities to bring a diversion to them while they’re here.
“We just really want to thank Michaels and the Starlight Children’s Foundation for bringing this to Niswonger Children’s Hospital. We would not be able to do the work that we do without our community sponsors and corporate sponsors.”
Mariel Lugo, Michaels district manager, said the new gaming systems are the result of a recent Starlight Children’s Foundation fundraising contest in which the arts and crafts retail chain’s Johnson City location was a main sponsor.
“They were the primary fundraisers for the Starlight contest that we had in our stores this year. Out of 160 stores in our zones, they were the highest fundraisers,” she said. “It's very important for us to give back to our community through Michaels and to be able to bring some peace of mind to the children who can’t leave the hospital.”