Loma Lin­da Uni­ver­si­ty Children’s Health – Indio host­ed a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mo­ny to cel­e­brate the open­ing of The Auen Foun­da­tion Children’s Play Area, made pos­si­ble by the foundation’s grant of $100,000 at the Jill & Bar­ry Gold­en Pavil­ion on Feb­ru­ary 18.

Sher­rie Auen, Trustee of The Auen Foun­da­tion — a non-prof­it, grant-mak­ing orga­ni­za­tion based in the Coachel­la Val­ley — said the part­ner­ship with Children’s Health – Indio was inspired after a tour of the state-of-the-art med­ical facil­i­ty, where they decid­ed to focus grant funds on the clinic’s wait­ing area.

We saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make the clinic’s wait­ing area a lit­tle hap­pi­er,” Auen said. “The Children’s Play Area is meant to be com­fort­able and fun — to let a kid be a kid. It will be a ther­a­peu­tic space for chil­dren and families.”

Loma Lin­da Uni­ver­si­ty Children’s Health admin­is­tra­tion, offi­cials from the City of Indio, Big Hearts for Lit­tle Hearts – Desert Guild board mem­bers and patient fam­i­lies attend­ed the cer­e­mo­ny to cel­e­brate The Auen Foundation’s gift.

Patients and their fam­i­lies who were in atten­dance received ted­dy bears and books donat­ed by the foun­da­tion. Emmanuel Presichi, 6, a for­mer patient, stood up with his par­ents to thank Children’s Health – Indio for car­ing for him and to thank The Auen Foun­da­tion for part­ner­ing with the clinic.

More than 3,000 chil­dren in the Coachel­la Val­ley receive care from Loma Lin­da Uni­ver­si­ty Children’s Health – Indio. The clin­ic offers a broad scope of pedi­atric ser­vices includ­ing gen­er­al pedi­atrics, behav­ioral health coun­sel­ing, pedi­atric gas­troen­terol­o­gy, pedi­atric neu­rol­o­gy, pedi­atric endocrinol­o­gy and den­tal services.