A serious illness is never easy — but when it comes to children, a health crisis is gut-wrenching. Every family member is impacted when a child must be hospitalized. Lives are disrupted; costs can be overwhelming, and the emotional toll of watching a child suffer mounts daily. Finding a bright spot is rare and invaluable.
Memphis is fortunate to be the home of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country. Home to cutting-edge facilities and exceptional pediatrics, Le Bonheur is also known as a place where childhood matters — where children and families feel safe and cared for. Truly a light in the world of pediatrics, the hospital will offer an even bigger bright spot for its young patients this spring with the addition of its own Seacrest Studio.
Seacrest Studios are charitable endeavors of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, founded by radio and television host and producer Ryan Seacrest and his family. As state-of-the-art broadcast media centers inside select children’s hospitals, the studios allow young patients to explore a new world of radio, television, and media while showing them a realm of possibilities — even giving them a taste of potential careers. Talk about hope for the future!
“The Seacrest Studio will give children a fun outlet and a new way to explore creativity,” says David Henson, Public/Community Relations Specialist at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “It will be very visible near the main entrance, just outside the coffee shop and cafeteria. The studio is encased in glass, so families, visitors, and staff will be able to watch children participate in the programming.”
Le Bonheur currently offers cheerful and interactive programming twice daily through a closed-circuit TV channel. Channel 8 brings lively games and quiz shows to hospital rooms. Patients can participate by calling in with questions and answers. The Seacrest Studio at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will provide patients and families with expanded opportunities for engagement, exploration, entertainment, and education. Patients can host their own radio and television shows, play games, watch live musical performances, and interview celebrity guests. Children who are able can come to the studio, and those who are not can take part from their rooms.
“Memphis is rich in music history and talent, and there are always cool things happening all over town, from the Orpheum to the FedEx Forum,” David says. “We have always had wonderful connections with celebrity guests. The Ryan Seacrest Foundation gives us access to a wider pool of people to invite to Le Bonheur to interact with the children.”
A second component is internship opportunities. Le Bonheur plans to work with local universities to give college students a chance to gain first-hand experience in broadcasting, programming, and operating a multimedia center. Interns will work hand-in-hand with staff to create content and interact with Le Bonheur patients and families.
“One goal is to pique the interest of the next generation’s Ryan Seacrest,” David tells us. “But an intern doesn’t necessarily need to major in broadcasting or journalism. We will be looking for applicants with an interest in healthcare careers as well.”
New employees will be hired to ensure the latest addition to the hospital runs smoothly. The staff at Seacrest Studio at Le Bonheur will be a three-person team responsible for on-air programming, creating content, administering the intern program, and, most importantly, engaging with Le Bonheur’s children and families.
As usual, Memphians have been generous with their support. Initial community support has surpassed $1 million of the needed $1.5 million for the 1,275-square-foot studio build-out, and the studio is on track to be completed by spring.
“Everyone at Le Bonheur is excited the Ryan Seacrest Foundation chose us as their twelfth studio,” David concludes. “It is a huge honor; no other state has two Seacrest Studios (there is one in Nashville). We are thrilled that they wanted to be a part of the Memphis community.”
Memphis, in turn, is thrilled to have everything the Seacrest Studio at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital will bring — the excitement, joy, moments of respite, and comfort this uplifting addition will offer to children in need.
If you are interested in donating to the Le Bonheur Foundation to fund the studio build and staff, visit the website HERE.
All renderings courtesy of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
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