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Pediatric Playroom Opens at Critical Care Facility in the South of Israel

NY-based non-profit Toys for Simcha constructs a Pediatric Playroom, an oasis of video games, books, and toys for patients and their families at the Assuta Ashdod Hospital south of Tel Aviv.

The hospital, which opened in 2017, now has a pediatric playroom. In this kid-friendly space, patients and their families can escape their hospital beds and combat the boredom of hospital life with fun and games. The Toys for Simcha Playroom features a lounging area, a video game corner, a reading library, a foosball table, and toys or tech for toddlers to teens.

"After a string of terror rocket attacks near Gaza, we began visiting children at Assuta Ashdod Hospital, gifting toys and tech to bring joy to the children at the pediatric department. We realized there were no diversions for young patients and their families. We wanted to make a permanent impact for the children being treated there. So, we enlisted support to build a proper playroom," according to Adam Rodriguez and Hodaia Ben Simhon, who operate Toys for Simcha in Israel.

New Yorker Asher Zamir, who piloted and sponsored this initiative, said, "A few friends and I decided to build and furnish a state-of-the-art playroom. We are thrilled to partner with the hospital to design a kid-friendly sanctuary where kids can be kids while they heal.

"Happy kids heal faster," said JJ Hecht II, president of Toys for Simcha, an extension of Toys for Hospitalized Children, the non-profit established by his grandfather to bring smiles to children of all religions in New York City hospitals. "We're proud to have grown my grandfather's vision, and today we bring toys, technology, and books to hospitalized children in the US and Israel. Through the generous donations of our patrons, we're helping bring joy to hospitalized children and dispel some of the monotony and isolation of hospital stays. We are very grateful to our donors, team, and the folks at the Assuta Hospital who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality."

“The playroom is making a huge difference for the brave children undergoing treatment at the Dr. Lina Drahi Center for Pediatric Medicine, helping them smile through the pain, fear and uncertainty and inspiring us all with their courage,” remarks Dr. Yoni Yeshayahu, head of the Pediatric Department.

In expressing her deep appreciation for the generous playroom donation, Shira Berliner, Director of Philanthropy at Assuta Ashdod, says, “We thank Toys for Simcha for their ongoing collaboration with the hospital – and for their commitment to bringing moments of respite, happiness and healing to the children in our pediatric ward.”

From left Shay Shriki, Dr. Erez Barenboim, Director General. JJ Hecht. Moshe Suissa. Dr. Yoni Yeshayahu, Head of Ped Dept. Adam Rodriguez. Hodaia Ben simhon. Medical Clown

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