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Wednesday, Jul 6, 2022

Disney Characters Animate Pediatric Waiting Area

Walt Disney Co. is headquartered in Burbank right next to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, but its largesse has extended all the way to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. The media and entertainment giant donated $104,000 this month to renovate the pediatric waiting area at the Valencia hospital’s emergency room. The work will include adding a Disney design motif, upgrading the seating and security desk, and adding a “Nurse First” station, part of an initiative that will have patients greeted by a nurse upon arrival to streamline the wait for a doctor. Disney also is providing toys, games and books to the emergency room, which sees about 10,000 children each year. The company has been a supporter of Henry Mayo for several years but this was its single largest donation. The connection between the hospital and entertainment company stems from legendary company founder Walt Disney, who was said to visit children in pediatric hospitals starting in the 1930s. About 1,500 of the company’s employees live in the Santa Clarita Valley. And CalArts, the renowned visual and performing arts school in Valencia, was founded by Walt Disney in the early 1960s. “When (the hospital) came to us with this request, we felt it was a nice place for Disney to do something more for that community,” said Joan McCarthy, Disney’s senior manager of Los Angeles community engagement. Diana Vose, president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation, thanked the company for funding the makeover, expected to be completed in September. “Disney’s gift demonstrates its continued commitment to the health and well-being of our community,” she said, in a statement. Greener Pastures Chatsworth Oaks Park is looking a little greener now that Answer Financial Inc. has partnered with TreePeople to care for 22 trees across the 3-acre park. The park contains young coast live oak trees that are vital habitat to some 350 birds and animals and under stress due to the drought. The volunteers worked to remove any invasive grass and weeds, create a basin for watering and added mulch to the base of the trees. “The group was phenomenal, and all of the young trees within this park were cared for,” Alex Villalta, forestry operations coordinator with TreePeople, a Beverly Hills-based environmental group. Answer Financial is a Woodland Hills subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Co., a Northfield Township, Ill. insurer with a large California presence that holds a companywide Week of Service in mid-May. The volunteers first participated in the Allstate program, assisting New Friends Homeless Centers in Encino and Woodland Hills, and then decided to extend their service to the Chatsworth park. “Community involvement is very important to our executive team, and we are working on building this into the fabric of our culture,” said Answer Financial spokeswoman Adrienne Lutovsky. “We chose TreePeople because it is important what they do, particularly in this drought.” Empowering Donation The Valley Industry Association has received a gift of $5,000 from Southern California Edison for its Connecting to Success educational program. The Santa Clarita business advocacy group said the grant will cover about one-third of the costs of the annual program, which helps high school students gain needed skills to enter the workforce. “This is an amazing gift on the part of Edison and will be a huge help to the foundation,” said Kathy Norris, association chief executive, in a statement. The fall program serves more than 2,500 students in the William S. Hart Union High School District. It consists of a series of about three sessions led by more than 80 local business people who are association members. They prep the students for interviews and review workplace ethics. “We’re hoping to encourage others to contribute as well,” said Anna Frutos-Sanchez, a public affairs region manager for the electric utility, in a statement. Southern California Edison is a unit of Edison International in Rosemead, which offers grants for nonprofit organizations that are focused on education, the environment, public safety and preparedness and civic engagement. Staff Reporter Stephanie Forshee can be reached at (818)316-3121 or sforshee@sfvbj.com.

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