“The art cart features more appropriate things than crayons and coloring books”
The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation’s headquarters is at the Voorhees Town Center. The foundation was founded by Gisele and Mario DiNatale in 2003 when the first teen lounge opened at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The DiNatale’s daughter, Alicia, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15 and passed away at 17. Gisele said, “she is the spirit behind everything.” This year marks the organization’s 15th year.
According to Gisele, there are 60 or more hospitals that require teen kits. Every year, about 2,000 teen kits are shipped. The foundation asks hospitals how many are needed on a quarterly basis and then ships them out. Every Wednesday, volunteers come out to assemble the kits.
They started out putting teen lounges in children’s hospitals.
“The children’s rooms are geared for really little kids,” DiNatale said.
There are 63 teen lounges in hospitals across the nation. For a teen lounge to be placed in a children’s hospital, the hospital must submit an application to the ARVF. The board then assesses the application and determines whether to approve the hospital for the appropriate funding.
More recently, the foundation has partnered with A.C. Moore to provide fully stocked mobile art carts that can roll up and down hallways.
“The art cart features more appropriate things than crayons and coloring books,” DiNatale said. There are five carts. The first was placed at Virtua in Voorhees. There are also carts at Nemours/Alfred duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.; Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital at Broward Health in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The foundation is planning to have 10 to 20 more carts in the coming year. The hospitals where carts will be at will be anywhere that an A.C. Moore is close to.
ARVF receives the majority of its funding through annual sponsors as well as through grants and awards. The second-largest portion of its funding comes through fundraisers. Its next fundraiser is the 15th Anniversary Birthday Bash, “The Crystal Ball,” which will take place on Oct. 27 at Lucien’s Manor in Berlin. Every year, the event usually attracts about 400 people.