Children’s Hospital Central California unveiled its new Rehabilitation Adventure Mobile, purchased with a grant of $93,989 from the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians. The event included a blessing and special songs, illustrating healing and power, by school children from the Picayune Rancheria.
“Our children have come here today to bless this van, to make sure that the children who ride in this van, ride safely, they heal swiftly and become stronger everyday,” said Joe Alberta, community relations representative and tribal member, who blessed the van. “The back of the van has the symbols of strength, power, healing and people.”
More than 50 Children’s Hospital staff, patients, Picayune Rancheria representatives, news reporters and community members were on hand to send patients off on their first outing in the new Rehab Adventure Mobile, including Children’s President and CEO William F. Haug; Children’s Vice President of Philanthropy, James Meinert; Tribal Council Vice Chair Dora Jones; Tribal Council Member Chance Alberta; and Madera County Board of Supervisors Frank Bigelow and Tom Wheeler.
“Today we are really honored,” said Meinert. “This is one of the best examples of good neighborly friendship and people working together to help children. We at Children’s Hospital can’t thank you enough for helping the kids who are here. Thank you for helping heal our children.”
The grant, the second major gift to Children’s Hospital from the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, provided for the purchase of the custom designed van, signage, insurance, gas and maintenance for one year. The Adventure Mobile is wrapped with Children’s logos and art work from the Picayune Rancheria school children. The first gift of $40,000 went to support Hospital’s West Expansion.
“We know how much Children’s Hospital means to our Valley and children,” said Alberta. “The tribal council was able to show that by giving back to our community. It’s very important that the community and the tribes work together as nations in our Valley for our children.”
The Adventure Mobile provides great opportunities to Children’s pediatric rehabilitation patients. The van is a first for the Hospital, enabling staff to time outings based on patients’ endurance or mobility levels, rather than public transit schedules. It gives Children’s staff the mobility and ability to introduce patients to adaptive sports programs and events, support groups, and adaptive school physical education or playgrounds.
The Children’s Hospital Rehab Adventure Mobile will provide community access for patients and their families with minimal restrictions on the day, time or location of therapeutic outings. In addition, the Adventure Mobile introduces families to the kind of transportation they can expect after their child’s discharge. Most Children’s rehab patients do not use public transit after discharge, but are transported in smaller passenger vans with their families or classmates.
“We’re very pleased to be the recipient of this gift, we will put it to excellent use,” said Dr. Jennifer Crocker, medical director of Children’s Rehabilitation Center, of the Rehab van. “It’s a huge step in order for us to offer our patients and their families the opportunity to practice some of the independence and skills.”
Before the Adventure Mobile, rehab patient outings were limited to public transit bus outings to Riverpark in Fresno. Children’s rehabilitation staff now have the ability to select a variety of venues for outings including local museums, parks, libraries and schools throughout Madera and Fresno counties.
Our 20-bed Rehabilitation Center is the only independent pediatric facility in California accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). We are accredited for Inpatient Rehabilitation with a Pediatric Specialty by CARF, acknowledging compliance with stringent national standards for rehabilitation facilities. The expert team at Children’s Rehabilitation Center works to maximize each child’s abilities while minimizing the effects of their impairment. The ultimate goal is to help each patient continue the experiences of childhood or adolescence and return to home or school at the earliest possible time. As part of the comprehensive care, the rehabilitation staff takes patients on community outings to help them prepare for dealing with the obstacles they may face when discharged from the hospital.
Children with brain or spinal cord injuries may find navigating around a school campus or department store, dealing with the stimulation of a public event, or simply gaining the confidence to participate in a social activity to be challenging. Patient outings provide a child with a safe opportunity to adjust to lifestyle changes while learning to adapt to old environments in different ways.
“It’s very important for us as a tribe to see the community that we have lived in for thousands of years prosper,” said Alberta. “Now they [our children] can be proud that they helped their community. We want to instill that in our children as well as they grow up and live here in the Valley.”