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Celebrating the kickoff of the Change for Children initiative at Setauket Elementary School are, left to right: front row, students Samantha Rutt and Tyler Ancona; second row, Wolfie, the Stony Brook University mascot; Dr. Margaret McGovern, Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics; and students John Ragozzino, Shannon Coughlan and Sydney Tasman; and back row, Richard Wiederman, Band Teacher; Susanne Mendelson, Setauket Liaison, Three Village Board of Education; and Kathryn White, Principal, Setauket Elementary School.
Fundraiser partners with Superintendent, School Nurse Organizations in Suffolk County Schools

Hundreds of clapping, screaming children created plenty of energy, excitement and enthusiasm on Oct. 25 as Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital launched its 2nd annual "Change for Children" initiative with a pep rally at Setauket Elementary School at 134 Main Street in Setauket, NY.

The highlight of the event was a special guest appearance by Wolfie, the Stony Brook University mascot, who stirred the crowd with dancing and high fives, and briefly conducted the school orchestra as the students roared their approval, chanting "change for kids."

"We are collecting change to help children of Long Island receive the medical attention they need," said Setauket Elementary School Principal Kathryn White to the gathered assembly of attentive children. "Right in our own backyard is Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital, and as their neighbors it is our responsibility to help."

Dr. Margaret M. McGovern, Physician-in-Chief, Stony Brook Children's and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, thanked the children for their support and remarked on how well-behaved they were, adding that she hoped never to see them as patients at the hospital.

A group of Setauket schoolchildren presented Dr. McGovern with a storage bin containing their early efforts to collect funds for the Change for Children initiative. In attendance was Jennifer Ancona of the Children's Hospital Task Force, who together with Janine DeSimone and Theodora Pellicane is leading the Change For Children effort for the second year running. Also attending was Susanne Mendelson, Setauket Liaison to the Three Village Board of Education.

Change for Children aims to enlist the support of Suffolk County schoolchildren by providing them with a community service initiative in which they will collect spare coins from friends and family members at home. Through the initiative, children will receive boxes to take home and collect donations over the course of a single week. Last year's campaign, conducted in eight school districts, raised $60,000 for Stony Brook Children's.

The initiative is co-sponsored by the Suffolk County School Nurses Association and the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, and the school nurses are serving as a vital new partner for the initiative this year.

According to Danielle Holton, Senior Director of Development in the Office of Advancement at Stony Brook Children's, all contributions received through the "Change for Children" initiative will be matched by an anonymous donor. In addition, gifts made through the Setauket Elementary School campaign will be matched by Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook Owner John Tsunis, who is Chair of the Children's Hospital Task Force.

"A few coins can make a huge difference when multiplied by the more than a quarter million children who attend school in one of Suffolk County's 71 public school districts," said Dr. McGovern. "And the effect is compounded by matching gifts we receive."

About Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital
Established in June 2010, Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital is Suffolk County’s only children's hospital. More than 7,000 children and adolescents are admitted each year. Stony Brook Children's operates 100 pediatric beds and has more than 100 full time pediatric physicians and surgeons and over 200 voluntary pediatric faculty members in 30 different specialties. The hospital is the Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center for our area and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, Cystic Fibrosis Center and the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
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