The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation recently donated $500,000 to CHOC Children’s in support of the healthcare system’s new mental health inpatient center. In recognition of the gift, the Center’s dining room will be named the Marriott Family Dining Room. The donation embodies the Marriott family’s history and core values, says Chris Harrison, great-grandson of Marriott International’s founders and general manager of the Marriott Irvine Spectrum Hotel.
“My great-grandparents formed the Marriott Foundation more than five decades ago as part of their commitment to support extraordinary nonprofits that empower positive change, particularly among young people,” explains Harrison. “Pediatric healthcare and mental health hold special places in my heart, and it’s truly a blessing to support CHOC’s innovative efforts.”
Harrison has a personal connection to the cause: he was born prematurely and required serious medical attention to thrive and has family members who have struggled with mental illnesses. His desire to make a difference locally began with him joining the CHOC Children’s Foundation Board of Directors.
“As a board member, Chris had the privilege of learning about CHOC’s mental health inpatient center and immediately brought it to our attention. We are thrilled to support CHOC’s unique and innovative approach to treating pediatric mental illness,” says Anne Gunsteens, executive director, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. “The Center is a critical resource for children, in crises, and their families.”
The only inpatient facility in Orange County to offer specialty programming for children 12 and younger, CHOC’s mental health inpatient center features 18 private rooms; a 3,600-square-foot outdoor play area; a group treatment environment called “the neighborhood”; two sensory rooms – one sensory-rich and the other low-stimulation to help children learn to manage strong emotions and calm themselves; therapeutic programming seven days a week, which is unique among inpatient facilities; and a dining room that offers patients and families a sense of normalcy and comfort.
The Center is part of CHOC’s robust system of mental health care to facilitate early diagnosis, intervention and treatment of pediatric mental health problems. The system’s components include the ASPIRE® (After School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education) Intensive Outpatient Program designed to prevent psychiatric hospitalization and readmission; mental health screening in primary and specialty care settings; pediatric mental health training for community health care providers, school personnel and therapists; and a co-occurring clinic for patients with mental health challenges complicated by physical illnesses.
“CHOC believes every child and young adult in Orange County who needs behavioral health treatment should receive high quality services without stigma or barriers to access. We are grateful to be joined in our efforts by advocates such as Chris and the Marriott Foundation, who share our values and support our vision,” says Doug Corbin, vice president, chief development officer, CHOC Children’s Foundation.