YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — As part of our Season of Kindness and Community holiday campaign, members of our CBS2 family volunteered across the Tri-State Area.
CBS2’s Elise Finch and Steve Overmyer volunteered with kids at Elizabeth Seton Children’s in Yonkers and got a tour of the facility.READ MORE: NYC Mourning NYPD Officers Wilbert Mora, Jason Rivera After Deadly Ambush In Harlem
Whether it’s arts and crafts or dance, the activities at Elizabeth Seton Children’s are fun with a therapeutic benefit.
“The smile at the end of the day on a child’s face is, I think, what inspires our staff,” CEO Pat Tursi said.
The residential facility specializes in long-term care for children and young adults with chronic and severe medical conditions. The staff takes care of the most medically vulnerable of society and gives parents a sense of comfort.
“Their child is like any other child and gets education, gets recreation,” Tursi said.
Stephanie is one of the 169 residents there. Pink is her favorite color. She’s also a big fan of actress Angela Bassett.
“She came this summer because I had to have some surgery,” she said.READ MORE: 5 Hurt, Dozens Displaced After Passaic Fire
At 24, Stephanie has defied initial prognoses of a shorter life expectancy, and she’s met two popes.
“I met Pope Benedict and Pope Francis,” she said.
Residents are supposed to range in age from infancy to 21. Some are older. Elizabeth Seton Children’s staff say that’s because there are no adult facilities equipped to provide the specific medical and social care each person requires.
“A lot of our kids are dependent on ventilators and need special orthopedics … Those things didn’t really exist to the level that they do today. So our children are really enjoying full lives and they need their next chapter,” Tursi said.
This team is working to build that next chapter for them — a young adult center.
Elizabeth Seton Children’s is hoping to break ground on the young adult facility by end of 2022. They’re currently fundraising with a goal of raising $30 million.MORE NEWS: Bald Eagle Spotted At Central Park Reservoir
CBS2’s Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.