SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It’s painful as a parent to see your kid sick, but if they are admitted to Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, there’s a team to help make it a little easier.

Those in the Child Life Program work with kids and their families to help them understand what’s happening during their hospital stay.

“One of us will come in and talk to the child and help them understand why they’re here, why they can’t eat, what part of the body are they having surgery on,” said Gina Lozito. She’s the manager of the Child Life Program at Golisano.

The program made all the difference for Lyndsay Pilipczak and her family.

“My daughter gets very anxious about anything medical,” Pilipczak said. So, it was pretty nerve-racking when 10-year-old Amaris went in for a procedure.

They knew about the Child Life Program and immediately got connected with a specialist.

It made Amaris feel more comfortable, but Lozito explained to NewsChannel 9 that the program is also about being honest with kids.

You’d be surprised that a lot of families think it’s better not to say anything and not tell the kids why they’re here, but then they mistrust and they associate that with going to the doctor, and we don’t want kids to be afraid to go to the doctor.

Gina Lozito – Manager, Child Life Program

Having that honesty and comfort through her stay made all the difference for Amaris.

“Amaris looked forward to going to these appointments because she knew Abby [child life specialist] was gonna be there to comfort her,” said Pilipczak.

The program didn’t only help Amaris, it helped her parents cope too.

“Knowing that she was in good hands with somebody that could comfort her when I’m not allowed to be in the room made everything so much better.”

Lyndsay Pilipczak

By the end of her stay, Lozito’s goal was accomplished. Amaris stepped out of a place of fear and into a place of confidence, joy, and comfort… even inside a hospital.

“I asked her, do you want me to reach out to see if Abby is available? She’s like, no mom I got this,” said Pilipczak.

“Children learn coping skills they’re going to take for the rest of their lives. If children have a positive experience they’re more likely to pursue healthcare in the future.”

Gina Lozito

The Child Life Program team also puts on birthday parties, trick-or-treating, and brings the zoo inside the hospital walls. Pretty much anything kids would be missing out on, they try to bring to them.

To learn more click here.

If you’d like to donate or look at their child life wish list click here.