Vidant North announces new pediatric safe room to support victims of abuse

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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ROANOKE RAPIDS – Vidant North Hospital announces the opening of its pediatric safe room for children suffering from abuse. This project is the result of community support for at-risk children and youth.

The pediatric safe room is located in the hospital’s emergency department and was designed alongside 13-year-old community activist Elijah Lee, who partnered with Vidant North after learning of a classmate who suffered abuse at home.

Elijah Lee explores one of the laptops donated by Kelly Clarkson for the Vidant North pediatric safe room. Contributed Photo

“My hope is that this room is inviting and makes it a bit easier for young people who have experienced abuse, trauma or need a supportive environment,” said Lee. “I am grateful for the many donations and most importantly the partnership with Vidant Health.”

Lee and Vidant Health Foundation raised $4,000 each for a total of $8,000 for the pediatric safe room. This room is designed to provide a comforting, peaceful space for patients, and is a direct result of Lee’s passion and vision. The room features items of comfort to children, and includes toys, laptops, games, dolls, tables, chairs and a television.

Television talk show host Kelly Clarkson donated four laptops for the pediatric safe room and Vidant downloaded games for younger patients on two laptops and placed games for older children on the remaining two. As part of safety protocol, items in the safe room are thoroughly cleaned and items that cannot be wiped down are donated to the patient.

“An emergency room can be a scary place for any child, especially one suffering from abuse,” said Jason Harrell, president of Vidant North. “A safe room provides a more comforting place to receive medical care inside of an emergency room. This space allows children to play and spend time in the safe room with a trusted parent or guardian.”

Harrell added, “What a great honor it is to have been chosen to implement this safe room in Vidant North’s Emergency Department. Elijah, embodies the spirit of community collaboration and his passion for helping those in-need is a benefit to those in our community. As leaders in children’s healthcare in eastern North Carolina, we are proud of this effort in making a safety impact on the children in our community.”