Mapp Child and Family Life Program

Children playing

Louis and Melinda Mapp of Point Clear, Ala., have given $500,000 to the University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital to enhance the facility’s Child Life program for young patients. In recognition of their generous support, the expanded program has been renamed the Mapp Child and Family Life Program at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. See photos from the news conference!

The Mapp Child and Family Life Program works with hospitalized children, teens and their families to ensure that each child's developmental, educational, psychosocial and emotional needs are met while at USA Children's & Women's Hospital. See photos of special events

By using age appropriate education, preparation and supportive activities, Child Life specialists, recreational therapists and teachers strive to minimize stress and help children and families cope positively with their healthcare experience.

In a joint effort with Mobile County Public Schools, credentialed teachers in the ClassAct program provide instruction to school-age children in the hospital’s classrooms or at bedside, as well as services to ease a child’s transition back into school and community. Together, this team also provides special events and services to help normalize the hospital environment. Learn more about ClassAct!

Activity areas designed to continue a child’s normal growth and development are located throughout the hospital. The TreeHouse on the fifth floor is a pediatric play and activity room providing opportunities for children to interact with others in a non-threatening environment. This activity room also allows children to cope with the stress of hospitalization through playing as children naturally do. Learn more about the TreeHouse!

“The ongoing expansion and enhancement of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital is being greatly assisted by generous donors such as Louis and Melinda Mapp, whose generosity will forever improve the quality of life for our young patients and their families,” said USA President Gordon Moulton.

“Melinda and I visited USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and we were overwhelmed; overwhelmed with the care and the wonderful, dedicated staff,” said Louis Mapp. “When we were heading back home, we decided then that we wanted to help in some way with what we had seen and experienced. Since then, we learned more about the Child & Family Life Program. We’re honored to be able to play a small part in this wonderful program.”

Children playing

“Louis and Melinda Mapp have a long history of generous support for the people of our region,” Owen Bailey, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital administrator, said. “Our young patients and their families, as well as our entire staff, are grateful that Louis and Melinda Mapp’s gift will enable USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital to provide even greater support to the children of the Gulf Coast region.”

Dr. David Gremse, USA chairman of pediatrics, said, “It’s understandable that a child would be sad to be hospitalized, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen their spirits lifted through a Pet Therapy visit from a friendly dog, video games, or even school. The Mapp Child and Family Life Program is a great gift to USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital that will be a terrific help in each child’s treatment and recovery.”

“Louis and Melinda Mapp have quietly built a legacy of helping others,” Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr., USA vice president for development and alumni relations, said. “Their gracious and touching support for USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, and their dedication to the further development of the Mapp Child and Family Life Program, is an inspiration to the entire Gulf Coast region.” Support USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital!

Mapp Child and Family Life Program

The Mapp Child and Family Life Program traces its roots to the late 1970s when Cathy O’Keefe, a therapeutic recreation instructor at USA, worked to create a Child Life Program in the pediatric unit at USA Medical Center. Soon to follow O’Keefe’s vision for creating a child-friendly hospital environment, the plan to bring school services to hospitalized children began. Anne Vella joined O’Keefe and together they developed a plan to offer school services to all children who were receiving health care services at USA Medical Center. When USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital began in the early 1980s, Child Life and the Class Act were already an active part of each child’s treatment and recovery.


Contact Information

Kimberly S. Wagner – Program Coordinator
(251) 415-1406 or 1507


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