Children’s Specialized Hospital Hosted Hollywood Red Carpet Prom for Patients

May 17, 2016

It was a star-studded night at PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, as over 40 patients, from babies to 21-year olds, promenaded on a velvet-rope lined red carpet, sang, danced, and enjoyed a special dinner.  The boys wore jackets and ties, the girls wore dresses, and everybody wore a big smile.  Children’s Specialized Hospital treats children affected by brain injury, spinal cord injury, premature birth, autism, developmental delays, and life-changing illnesses.

“When children are in the hospital, they often miss out on important events,” said Tara Helfrich, child life specialist at PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital.  “We want to normalize the hospital environment and give the kids a fun experience they can’t otherwise have.”

This is the fourth prom organized by the members of the Child Life and Recreational Therapy departments at Children’s Specialized.  Therapists incorporated getting ready for the event into their treatment sessions, such as helping patients learn how to dress in their donated formalwear.  Even children who were unable to attend the dance had an opportunity to dress up and have a picture taken at their bedside.  As the big night approached, patients who were interested got help with hair and make-up from volunteer stylists using products donated by L’Oréal USA.

Roughly 30 enthusiastic volunteers from PSEG created and donated all of the supplies for the event decorations, Hollywood hills sign, and walk of fame for the patients as well as Hollywood themed centerpieces. 

At the party, each patient was introduced and made a grand entrance to cheers from staff.  Patients, families, and staff then dined before hitting the dance floor.  DJ Frank Loschiavo of Prime Time Events  volunteered his time to spin the tunes and East Coast Photo Booths donated and operated a photo booth!  Photographers Tom Schoenknecht and Tom Lokos captured all of the excitement on film and printed portraits for the patients to have as keepsakes.  And no prom is complete without flowers, which were made into corsages and boutonnieres by volunteers.  Balloons – Bunch a Balloon donated decorations and Miller’s Rental Inc. donated the glamourous red carpet and velvet rope!

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges — from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At thirteen different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and children can achieve more of their goals.  To help, or find more information: call 888-CHILDRENS; visit; Facebook:; Twitter:; YouTube:; LinkedIn:'s-specialized-hospital