The Los Angeles Dodgers individually and collectively do tremendous work in the community and on Tuesday that was evident with Kenley Jansen. Through his Kenley Jansen Foundation and in partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF), a second and third “Kenley’s Locker” were unveiled for pediatric patients at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.
“Kenley’s Locker” is the signature community outreach program of the Kenley Jansen Foundation, and the lockers donated will serve as sources of entertainment and distraction for thousands of patients and their families each year.
LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman was on hand for the event at UCLA, and she explained why using $90,000 of the foundation’s money to help these children was something they wanted to do and continue doing.
“I am just absolutely thrilled to be here today unveiling this locker series with Gianni and Kenley and the Kenley Jansen Foundation,” Whiteman told the crowd of reporters, children, families and hospital workers.
“Many of you may be aware that the Dodgers Foundation, under our health and wellness pillar, consistently provides support and resources for kids and for families throughout Los Angeles who really need it most. We couldn’t think of a better partnership and we are just pleased to have been invited to partner on such a project where we’re able to provide a little bit of emotional support and a little bit of entertainment for kids during such an interesting time in the hospital.
“We know that obviously we cannot take away the physical pain or physical turmoil that might be experienced during a hospital stay, but to be a part of something that can just lessen the burden, even just a little, means a lot to us. With our $90,000 contribution, we hope that this might be the first of future lockers that we might be able to partner with Gianni and Kenley on. It’s really special today with UCLA Healthy being the official sponsor of the Los Angeles Dodgers, so to be unveiling here is quite fitting.”
Included in the lockers are Jansen-themed decals, Nintendo switches with games, iPads, Build-A-Bears and other fun toys for kids at the hospital to enjoy.
Kenley and Gianni Jansen have children of their own, and their oldest son, Kaden, dealt with a bacterial infection in 2017. He was hospitalized during Christmas time, which was when the couple noticed a lack of toys and entertainment for the children.
That was when the idea for “Kenley’s Locker” was created. The importance of toys and entertainment for children who are going through a lot is not lost on Gianni, the vice president of the Kenley Jansen Foundation.
“We are really excited to be here and to be able to do this for this hospital,” Gianni said. “As a parent, it’s always to see our kids going through struggles due to illnesses, so for us to be able to get the gadgets for entertaining and all that we provide, it’s amazing that we can see our kids and other people’s kids have a huge smile and brightness about their days.
“So that’s actually what we want to do for every family. We would like to continue doing this at several hospitals.”
Jansen donated the first locker in May and is nowhere near finished with this mission. “We’re grateful and thankful for everything at the Dodgers Foundation and everybody behind them is doing. And thank you to UCLA for allowing us to launch the second and third lockers,” Jansen said.
“This is great. It’s great for the kids, it’s something that they can interact with when they’re sick, while they’re recovering just to distract their minds from everything that they’re going through. So we’re all glad to do this and we’re just gonna keep continuing to help in the city. Hopefully, we can launch four more lockers next year and keep making it grow and keep continuing to do this for the kids and be out here for the kids.”
After the unveiling of the lockers, Jansen went around and visited with children in their hospital rooms since a lot of them were not well enough to attend the ceremony.
“If I have to look back to me being a kid, if I would’ve had that opportunity to just meet guys that you idolize in the Major Leagues, I would think that is awesome,” he explained. “I remember just having clinics that we used to have down there in Curacao and we’d have some Major League Baseball players come there and just how excited you are.
“So if you think about kids too, the Dodgers being one of the huge organizations here in L.A., how many Dodger fans we have, and you see the parents and kids, how much of diehard Dodger fans they are, to just see a guy like me just walking in. It’s awesome.”