Providence celebrates growth and expansion of My Little Waiting Room

PORTLAND, Ore. - When My Little Waiting Room opened its doors in the spring of 2010, no one knew just how significant it would become to families served by Providence. As the innovative, drop-in child care center gets ready to celebrate its second birthday and 10,000th visitor, the success is evident - and plans are under way to expand the service to a second Providence hospital.

Founded by Melissa Moore and Amy Paterson, a breast cancer survivor, My Little Waiting Room is designed to reduce the stress of hospital visits for patients and visitors to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. Infants through 10-year-olds are cared for at no cost, with services supported by donations. My Little Waiting Room works with Volunteers of America to coordinate the center's professional staff.

Since opening its doors April 5, 2010, the center has blossomed as one of the most beloved spots in the hospital for thousands of young visitors. Parents dealing with appointments or visiting hospitalized loved ones have repeatedly expressed their gratitude for the services. Some families - dealing with long-term health issues - use the center daily or several times a week, for weeks at a time. Grateful parents say the center provides a safe, nurturing home away from home for their children, allowing parents a more focused time with loved ones or during a medical appointment.

The community has warmly welcomed My Little Waiting Room with regular gifts of toys and financial contributions. Operations are funded through hundreds of donations to Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation, totaling more than $310,000 to date. A significant gift last year allowed the center to expand availability to 40 hours a week.

The program has proved so successful in serving the needs of patients and their families Providence is adding a second My Little Waiting Room, located at Providence Portland Medical Center. "Things are still in the early stages, but we're very excited about bringing this to more families on the Eastside," said Melissa Moore. "We've also received calls from other hospitals across the country asking about how they could start their own service. We've always believed that if health clubs and department stores can offer a service like this, hospitals can, too."