Local nonprofit ARVF donates to assist Virtua students

Students enrolled in Virtua’s pediatric behavioral health program recently received an outlet for artistic expression thanks to a colorful donation from the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation

Students enrolled in Virtua’s pediatric behavioral health program recently received an outlet for artistic expression thanks to a colorful donation from the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation (ARVF). The Camden-based CASTLE program (Children Achieving Success through Therapeutic Life Experiences) is the latest Virtua facility to receive Alicia’s Art Cart.

The cart, packed with crayons, paints, stickers, and other supplies, provide young people with a creative outlet through arts and crafts. ARVF donated a similar cart to the pediatric pavilion of Virtua Memorial Hospital earlier this year.

The goal of the carts is to provide young people facing physical or behavioral health challenges with a much-needed diversion. Bobbi Jo Gray, nurse director at Virtua Memorial, said her pediatric patients respond positively to the opportunity for a “mental escape” from the hospital setting.

“One of our recent patients with Type I diabetes was very anxious and required extended observation,” said Gray. “He told us that art was one of his favorite activities and was thrilled with all of the options available to him. The art cart also equipped our child life specialist with additional strategies for communicating with this special patient. We still have his art work on display.”

ARVF honors the memory of Alicia Rose DiNatale, who passed away from cancer in 2002 at age 17. The ARVF mission is to provide strength and support for children and to enhance the quality of life for adolescents with cancer and other illnesses. ARVF has raised more than $2.5 million, supporting hospitals by providing “Victorious for Teens” teen lounges, activities, teen kits, and bandana pillows. Alicia’s Art Carts are the result of a partnership with A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts.

“Virtua has been, and will always be, very close to our hearts,” said Gisele DiNatale, Alicia’s mother and ARVF founder. “Alicia received excellent care from Virtua’s medical staff and child life specialists, and we recognize the very special care adolescents need over the course of their illnesses. We are confident that Alicia’s Art Carts will create positive experiences for Virtua’s pediatric patients and the CASTLE students.”

This donation is the latest in a long list of ARVF contributions to Virtua. ARVF has already donated a teen lounge and art cart to Virtua Voorhees Hospital and has distributed its teen kits and bandana pillows to Virtua pediatric patients for more than 10 years.