“The men and women of the Painters and Allied Trades believe that our commitment to our communities matters more now than ever before because of these hard economic times,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) General President James A. Williams. “Projects such as this one must move forward for the sake of our children and we’re pleased to make a difference. We hope that others will follow our lead.”
“We are practicing state-of-the-art medicine in less than state-of-the-art surroundings,” said Ellen Bendel-Stenzel, MD, staff neonatologist at Children’s. “Having private rooms is extremely important because in the NICU we treat the entire family and not just the patient. Infants can spend several months at Children’s, and it is ideal if we can make the surroundings comfortable and as close to home as possible.”
“Children’s has always appreciated the important support and services members of IUPAT and District Council 82 provide us every day,” said Annie Waters, senior annual giving officer at the Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “We are excited to expand this partnership with this generous gift from PATCH that will have a direct impact on our patients, their families and the men and women who provide for their care each day.”
The Painters and Allied Trades for Children’s Hope Foundation, or PATCH, was founded in 2001 by the IUPAT to better the lives of children in need. Supported by the members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and other generous donors, the PATCH Foundation has given nearly $1 million to local youth organizations throughout the United States.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Minneapolis currently has 38 beds for critically ill infants, with an additional 26 transition beds. Families have little space near the beds and only rocking chairs to sit in. The new rooms will offer a private bath; space for the parents to care for their children; a couch that pulls out as a bed; a work station so they can connect with the Internet and get work done and some entertainment-oriented features for the children. Moving sick children out of the intense environment of an open, shared space into private rooms helps reduce stress for the entire family and that promotes healing.
And, it will be the crafts men and women of the IUPAT who put the finishing touches – drywall finishing, painting and installing windows – on those very rooms. IUPAT members work for the contractor building the new facilities for the hospital. “Knowing that we not only made one of these rooms possible with our PATCH gift, but that we will also be putting our own personal touch on the rooms makes this partnership with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics even more rewarding,” said local IUPAT leader Terry Nelson, business manager/secretary-treasurer of District Council 82 in Little Canada. “I doubt there are too many other donors out there who have the same opportunity.”
Adopting the children’s hospital as its cause represents “coming full circle” for the council, Nelson noted. “Many of our members have had children who have been in the hospital, and the hospital uses all-union labor. It’s a great partnership.”
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) represents more than 160,000 active and retired construction workers in the crafts of painting, drywall finishing, glass work and floor covering, among others.