Morristown hospital unveils new garden designed by children

From Today’s Star-Ledger

Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 6:00 AM

Tomas Dinges/For the Star-Ledger

MORRISTOWN — The short walk from the parking lot between two brick buildings near the Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown was once dreary.

Now, a short pathway lined with bright flowers and freshly laid mulch leads to a few benches in a sunny corner, a new setting named “Mickey’s Garden.”

“It used to be a pretty depressing place to walk through,” said Mary Ann LoFrumento, the co-chair of the pediatric philanthropy committee of the Goryeb Children’s Hospital, “but, now, it’s a beautiful inspiration.”

Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the small resting area outside the hospital was the culmination of the work of a philanthropic organization run by children and teenagers.

The planning for the park took about two years, said Emily Weber, 17, a founding member of Kids4Kids, the youth philanthropy committee of the Morristown Memorial Health Foundation.

“It was a challenge,” said Weber, a senior at Ridge High School. “It was more than I expected.”
For parents, “it’s a place to clear their head, or take a break.” said Walter Rosenfeld, the chairman of the Department of Pediatrics.

The park was designed as a place to sit and breathe a bit of fresh air. A mural with a chalkboard surface encourages drawing.

The park is named after Weber’s grandmother, Mickey, an avid gardener, who visited the hospital on-and-off for 13 years in a battle with myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder.

When her grandmother died, Weber decided to give something to the other patients and particularly the children’s hospital.

Along with a friend of hers, Katie Curtin, and their parents, who were already involved with the hospital, they figured out the plans for the park. The process led to the formation of the philanthropy group, said Weber.

Now, the members and their parents meet monthly at a marble-topped conference table in the boardroom of the hospital’s foundation, to discuss how best to help the experience of those in the children’s hospital.

Recently, most of the committee has been dedicated to opening the garden, Kling said.

But, they are also hard at work collecting toys and children’s books, putting together toiletry kits for parents who stay overnight at the hospital and organizing the Family Fun Day, a carnival held in November of each year. The first one was held in 2008.

Like most of the activities of Kids4Kids, parents supervise the games at the event, but it’s the kids who do the work.

“They aren’t running the games,” Weber said, “the kids are.”

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