Audrey Hepburn: A Tribute to her Humanitarian Work
      Home      Contact      Links      Site Info      Guestbook
      Her Work





      Spirit of Audrey

      AH Children's Fund

    home >children's fund >audrey hepburn children's house


Film legend's name graces center for abused children;
$6M facility opens in Hackensack

by Yung Kim, The Record (Bergen County, NJ), October 8, 2002

Audrey Hepburn Children’s House, 12 Second St., Hackensack NJ, USA HACKENSACK - Audrey Hepburn's son opened a $6 million center for abused children Monday, saying the late film star would have been honored to help hundreds of victims per year.

"My mother felt deeply that a child robbed of their childhood is the greatest crime," said Sean Ferrer, founder and chairman of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.

Ferrer took up the project about five years ago, after conversations with executives of The Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. About half of the project's cost was funded by the federal and state governments, with the rest of the money collected through fund-raisers and donations.

The three-story brick building on Second Street, named the Audrey Hepburn Children's House, has been declared a state-designated center for identifying and treating abuse victims.

Audrey Hepburn was a staunch advocate for children. After a string of successful movies, she became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund, citing the hunger she suffered in wartime Netherlands. She died of colon cancer in 1993.

On Monday, Sean Ferrer, an actor and producer whose father is the actor Mel Ferrer, praised the medical center staff for pressing on with the project, and government officials for pulling together the funding. And he surprised a guest, the actress Natalie Portman, by declaring her the center's "godmother" and presenting her with a pair of diamond earrings from Tiffany & Co.

More than 300 children a year are expected to pass through the center, said Dr. Jeffrey R. Boscamp, chairman of the hospital's pediatrics department.

The center was built so that doctors and counselors can draw out painful stories from confused, scared children. The waiting room alone contains a children's desk arrayed with toys, games, and crayons.

"Every room is designed so a child feels comfortable, so that they feel they can open up," Boscamp said.

previous • next