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San Diego Zoo Kids Channel Begins Broadcasting at Goryeb Children’s Hospital

May 20, 2019

Morristown, NJ –Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors from the Turtle Back Zoo at a gathering at Atlantic Health System’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital on May 17, 2019. This special event was held to announce a partnership between the CALLING ALL KIDS STORYTIME NETWORK, sponsored by the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC), the Turtle Back Zoo and San Diego Zoo Kids. San Diego Zoo Kids is a closed-circuit television adventure channel produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

Watch a video about the partnership >

Zookeeper shows penguin to Goryeb patients

The creation and development of the San Diego Zoo Kids channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities facilities across the nation over the next three years. The generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors at Goryeb Children’s Hospital.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

"We are most grateful to San Diego Zoo Kids for launching their outstanding programming that is featured on WAMMC’s in-house television station at the medical center. As partners, we are dedicated to creating a nurturing environment and the San Diego Zoo Kids animal adventures can only enhance our efforts to offer some comfort and healing to our patients during their stay at the hospital,” said Mary Courtemanche, President of the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center.

WAMMC TV's Calling All Kids is a dedicated in-house television Channel 65 that features a professionally produced series of illustrated children's stories read by nurses, physicians, volunteers, celebrities, authors and now our young patients. Their mission is to bring smiles and laughter to all patients, the young and the young-at-heart, through entertaining and engaging original programming during their stay at the medical center.

“Being in the hospital can be a scary time for our young patients, and their families,” said Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, President, Morristown Medical Center, and Chief Nursing Officer, Atlantic Health System. “At Goryeb Children’s Hospital, we work to ensure that when they have to be here, they are provided with programs and activities that support their emotional health in addition to their physical healing, which is exactly what this new partnership aims to accomplish. We are incredibly grateful to the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center's Calling All Kids Storytime Network for their support of our patients.”

The channel also features animal stories from the Turtle Back Zoo. “Watching the joy and excitement in children’s eyes when they see exotic animals and learn about their place in nature is priceless,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “All children, whether they come to Turtle Back Zoo or are physically unable, should have the opportunity to experience this connection. We are pleased to partner with San Diego Zoo Kids and the Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Medical Center to bring fun, entertaining and educational television programming so all children can have their own wild adventure!”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids hosts Olivia Degn and Michelle Myers. Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as content from other zoos around the world.

“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 223 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 39 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, and Curaçao.

About the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center

Founded in March 1893 to provide financial support to Morristown Medical Center, part of the Atlantic Health System, the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC) helps enable the hospital to respond to the changing healthcare needs of the community. With a volunteer base of more than 400 members, WAMMC hosts a number of fundraising events, anchored by the flagship event, Mansion in May Designer Showhouse and Gardens, open to the public every two years. WAMMC also operates the hospital’s gift shops and The Bargain Box Thrift Boutique, as well as WAMMC Network TV, which created Calling All Kids and is the first in-house family television station for young patients and their families to enjoy during their stay at the hospital. WAMMC is an integral part of the hospital’s ability to continue bringing cutting-edge technology and superior health services to the community, and has raised more than $30 million to date to support this mission. Learn more >

About Morristown Medical Center Goryeb Children’s Hospital

Morristown Medical Center, the flagship hospital of Atlantic Health System, has been building healthier communities since it was founded 126 years ago. Morristown Medical Center was named one of ‘America’s Best 50 Hospitals’ for the third consecutive year by Healthgrades, a consumer-rankings group. The distinction places Morristown in the top one percent of hospitals in the nation for clinical performance. It was one of only 29 hospitals in the nation to be recognized as a Top Teaching Hospital by Leapfrog, and highest-ranking hospital in New Jersey, in both Cardiology & Heart Surgery and Orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. In 2017, Morristown was the only hospital in New Jersey and one of just 12 hospitals in the country to receive three of the most sought-after industry honors: America’s 50 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades, an “A” safety grade by Leapfrog and five stars from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Designated a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and a Level II by the state, Morristown is a Magnet Hospital for Excellence in Nursing Service, the highest level of recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for facilities that provide acute care services. The Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute offers patients a complete spectrum of heart and vascular care, home to the largest cardiac surgery program in the state. The Carol G. Simon Cancer Center is the only program in the state to receive the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

About Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

Since taking office in 2003, DiVincenzo has spearheaded over $75 million in upgrades to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, which have included developing the African Adventure with four Masai giraffes, lions and hyenas, and South African Penguins; a new Educational Building; the Carousel with 33 figures of endangered animals; the Sea Lion Sound Exhibit with sea lions, sharks and sting rays; the Big Cat Country Exhibit with jaguars and cougars; Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve with white cheeked gibbons apes, Reeves muntjac and white naped cranes; Australian Exhibit that features kangaroos, wallabies, emus and over 500 birds in the Aviary; Reptile and Education Center, open air dining pavilion and playground, Penguin Exhibit, Otter Exhibit, Wolf Exhibit, Alligator Exhibit, North American Animal Exhibit, Black Bear Exhibit, Animal Hospital, Essex Farm Petting Zoo and South American Animal Exhibit; renovating the Food Pavilion for year-round use and making upgrades to the entrance as well as fencing and infrastructure to meet AZA requirements. Funding has been provided through Green Acres grants, existing capital improvement bonds, or donations from the Zoological Society, Essex County Parks Foundation, corporations or private foundations. Corporations that have provided support include Investors Bank, Prudential Financial, Inc., Wells Fargo, PNC Bank, PSE&G, Verizon, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Coca Cola, Capital One Bank, TD Bank, Aramark, Covanta Energy, Matrix Development Group, the family of Ronald Mount and OxyMagic carpet cleaning. The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 23 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. Turtle Back Zoo is located in Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation and was opened to the public in 1963.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums, and related organizations. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

About IMLS Community Anchors Program

IMLS promotes the role of museums as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, physical space, technology and other resources to identify and implement solutions. By strengthening museums’ capacities for civic engagement, these projects contribute to the creation of livable, sustainable communities. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that empower museums to transform their roles in their communities from being community resources to being community catalysts. Museums have a role to play providing civic and cultural engagement, facilitating lifelong learning, promoting digital inclusion and supporting economic vitality through programming and services. IMLS encourages projects that demonstrate collaboration, adopt co-creating strategies and engage with a wide variety of cross-sector stakeholders to accomplish a sustained collective-impact goal.

San Diego Zoo Kids

San Diego Zoo Kids reaches out to millions of children each year who might not otherwise be able to experience the wonders of animals, plants and their habitats, with the goal of making nature accessible to children everywhere. As part of San Diego Zoo Global, an international nonprofit conservation organization that works to save plants and animals worldwide, San Diego Zoo Kids seeks to fight extinction by raising awareness, building respect and igniting a passion for wildlife and conservation among younger audiences. The San Diego Zoo Kids website provides a learning experience about animals, habitats, and conservation for children anywhere. San Diego Zoo Kids provides free and discounted education programs in San Diego that meet LEAD standards for science curriculum and provides teacher training. The San Diego Zoo Kids channel broadcasts television programming in more than 175 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, providing joy, comfort, laughter, and learning to children and their families who are experiencing challenging times. To learn more, visit the links above or connect with us on Facebook and YouTube.