Southcoast Health Awarded a Significant Grant from the Friends of Jack Foundation to Expand Child Life Specialist Program

This is the largest single gift in the history of the Friends of Jack Foundation

On Wednesday, April 24, the Friends of Jack Foundation made a special visit to St. Luke’s Hospital to present Southcoast Health providers, nurses, and staff with a significant grant to expand their Child Life Specialist Program.

On the pediatric floor, Jill Fearons, Founder and President of The Friends of Jack Foundation, announced their commitment of $280,000 to the Child Life Specialist program over the next two years. This is the largest single gift in the history of the Friends of Jack Foundation.

This support will enable Southcoast Health to provide 100 hours of Child Life Specialist coverage per week, with the Friends of Jack fully funding an existing 36-hour Child Life Specialist (CLS) position and a new 24-hour CLS position.

“Since establishing the Friends of Jack Foundation five years ago, Jill and her team have been constant supporters of our pediatric program at Southcoast Health, and valuable partners in ensuring the children of our region receive comforting, specialized care,” said David O. McCready, President and CEO of Southcoast Health. “Thanks to their ongoing generosity, St. Luke’s Hospital will be able to expand this meaningful service to support even more families in our community.” 

Expanding the Child Life Specialist Program

Currently, St. Luke’s Hospital has two certified child life specialists, Kara Levoshko and Molly Johnson, who guide pediatric patients through medical experiences in the hospital emergency department, before surgery, and during an overnight stay. Their work supporting these patients and their families as they navigate often some of the most challenging moments in their lives is an invaluable resource.

“My family was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have a Child Life Specialist on my son Jack’s care team when he underwent emergency surgery in 2015,” said Fearons. “We saw firsthand the tremendous benefit this specialized care provided not only to my son as a patient, but to our whole family. We were blessed to have this incredible support throughout his treatment and I am honored to help provide this meaningful service to others right here in Greater New Bedford.”

Continuous Support

This award is in addition to the significant in-kind support offered by the foundation to Southcoast Health. Throughout the hospital, they provide the majority of toys and supplies for the Child Life Department, as well as the children’s books for the Level II Nursery.

The Friends of Jack also donated a toy car for pediatric in-patients to drive themselves to the operating room, and they provide thousands of teddy bears each year for children who are sick or injured in the emergency department.

These thoughtful patient comfort and family support items provided by the Friends of Jack Foundation make a tremendous difference in our patients’ hospital experience.

To learn more about Southcoast Health’s Child Life Specialist Program please visit