News Articles


Date ArticleType
12/22/2016 Member News
First “Smilezone” Location in U.S. Unveiled at Covenant

Kristin Knoll, Public Relations
989.583.7655 (office)
989.714.4473 (cell)

Press Release December 22, 2016

First “Smilezone” Location in U.S. Unveiled at Covenant

Thanks to the Saginaw Spirit, Covenant HealthCare has been selected as the first hospital in the United States to have Smilezones renovated by Smilezone Foundation USA. Tuesday, December 20, Saginaw Spirit representatives, Covenant leadership, and Emergency Care Center staff gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the first Smilezone location, while several “Covenant Kids” assisted in the ribbon ceremony and explored the space.

The Covenant Emergency Care Center (ECC) waiting room is the first of three “Zones” in Covenant to be completed. With 65 private rooms and caring for more than 90,000 patient visits per year, the Covenant ECC is a Level II Trauma Center verified to care for pediatric and adult patients. The Smilezone Foundation wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere for the youngest visitors. They created an area with bright colors and interactive games for children to enjoy while in the waiting room.

At the reveal, Ed Bruff said, “We put patients in all of our decision-making, and I can tell you that includes the little ones.” He went on to say that, “Many of the [pediatric] patients are here due to situations beyond their control. It’s important to try to make their day a little better… I read [the Smilezone’s] mission, and it states that they want to give patients a chance to experience true reprieve from the day to day battles they face; a place that, quite simply, will put a smile on their face. When I read that I knew this was a very good match for Covenant.”

"Our Foundation is truly honoured to transform our first Zone in the United States at Covenant HealthCare. We are thrilled that this new Smilezone will help spread smiles to children, siblings, and families during their hospital visits," says Scott Bachly, Chair of the Smilezone Foundation USA.

Additional Zones for pediatric patients will undergo renovations and be revealed at a later date. Future Zones will be located in the Covenant Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation pediatric outpatient area and the Covenant Pediatric Unit.

Ed Bruff ended with a quote from the Smilezone website, “Remember that a smile makes a hard day a little easier.”

About Smilezone Foundation USA
Smilezone Foundation USA is a registered 501(c)3 charity committed to “putting smiles on children’s faces”. The charity established the overarching mission of assisting children, and their families, who are facing difficult times and health challenges. Smilezone’s mission is to create, build and transform areas (“Zones”) in hospitals, private treatment and development centres, and children’s clinics, in order to improve the lives of children facing illness, disabilities, and physical and emotional obstacles—ultimately putting a smile on their faces.