Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation to Host Opening for Accessible Playground: made possible by grant from Kurz Family Foundation

June 17, 2014

The Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation announces the grand opening of The Herbert and Edythe Kurz Accessible Playground. The new aplayground, located on the campus of the physical rehabilitation hospital In West Haverstraw, has been made possible by a grant from the Kurz Family Foundation of Piermont, New York. The grand opening celebration is scheduled for Sunday, June 22, 2014 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.

Herbert and Edythe’s son, Leonard Kurz, a Director of the Kurz Family Foundation and an Internationally recognized children’s’ rights advocate, was instrumental in making the hospital’s vision of building a playground for pediatric patients with all level of abilities a dream come true. “My parents have always been advocates for children,” says Mr Kurz. “The playground will play an important role in the therapy and overall rehabilitation program of the hospital’s youngest patients.”

The Hospital’s Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Program Supervisor Jodi Brangaccio, PT, says, “The ability to provide a children’s play environment, which will serve pediatric patients with varying types of disabilities, is something we have wanted for several years. We are so thankful to the Kurz Family Foundation for making it a reality.”

The Herbert and Edythe Kurz Accessible Playground will offer traditional and adapted equipment modified to accommodate children with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. The playground incorporates features such as wide spaces and pathways for easier maneuvering and wheelchair access, ADA seating and safety rubber surfaces.

“In traditional parks, features as simple as a swing are difficult for children to enjoy if they use a wheelchair or crutches. This new accessible park is designed to accommodate any child,” Helen Hayes Hospital Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Martucci explained. “It is important for children of all abilities to be able to benefit from outdoor play, and this new playground will have the added therapeutic benefits.”

The Foundation and the Hospital are looking forward to a grand opening of the playground on June 22, 2014. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and children’s entertainment. Along with members of the Kurz Family, expected to attend are Hospital staff, community members, elected officials and special guests. The Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Lou Falco, will be participating with its K-9 Unit, Rockland County Child C.A.R.E. (Computer Aided Rescue Effort) Program and its Mounted Unit. This grand opening will be a family friendly event and the community is invited to join in the celebration, which will take place from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.

Foundation Chair Hilda A. Kogut called the grant an investment in the lives of children with special needs. “The donation will make a lifetime of difference to our patients,” she said.

As one of the country’s first physical rehabilitation facilities, Helen Hayes Hospital is widely recognized as a leader in physical rehabilitation medicine and research. The Hospital cares for pediatric patients with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities within its Outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Center.

The Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation, Inc. seeks to advance the mission and strategic objectives of Helen Hayes Hospital through the development of resources and community awareness. This is accomplished through education, community relations, advocacy, networking, fund raising and public relations.

For more information about Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation or how to make a charitable contribution, visit helenhayeshospitalfoundation.com/ or call (845) 786-4365.