PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dream Big Studio at UPMC Children’s Hospital helps kids escape the world.
There is a lot to be said about the magic of a television studio, and Dream Big Studio is finding ways to spread joy during some of the toughest times.
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“A lot of joy and laughter has come out of the studio this year,” said Stephanie Colaberardino, UPMC Children’s Hospital Child Life, Volunteer Services and Family Resource Center director.
“Dream Big Studio is a space inside of our hospital on the in-patient side that is a radio-tv studio for kids to come be on TV and help make TV while they’re here in the hospital,” said UPMC Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialist CoordinatorRiley Hammond.
The studio captivates many, including Kendra Acosta, who found fun inside the hospital as soon as she sat in the co-host chair.
“It helps your confidence and your courage and it helps you not be scared,” said Acosta.
The studio helps take her mind off the hospital. She has played bingo on the TV, which is broadcasted inside the hospital’s rooms for all to enjoy.
“I’ve heard of some families who block their schedules and will not let anyone in their room while bingo is happening,” said Hammond.
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Hammond coordinates the studio’s three-weekday programs.
“It’s an outlet,” Hammond said. “They’re able to escape for 20 to 30 minutes, have some fun and win some prizes and be a little bit removed.”
From bingo to teaching kitchen, it is a moment of escape after the pandemic took so much away. It’s also a break for the hospital’s staff.
“It’s really fun to see them so excited, so interested in cooking, so interested in the foods and trying new foods as well,” said Brigitta Fieldhammer, a registered dietician.
“You get to be the person on television and teach kids. And all of those wonderful things that are here, it really brings it to life and to a realization,” said executive chef Joel Naggy.
As for Acosta, she is realizing her dreams.
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“Her confidence changed, night and day,” said Kendra’s father, Roger. “She’s thinking of making a career out of TV just because of coming here”