submitted by Ms. Beth Lemme-Bixby, Chief Operating Officer
Pawtucket, RI – Partnerships and working together is the key to success! Imagine over 150 people working together towards a common cause: to make the Tides Family Services Pawtucket School a therapeutic learning environment.
“A few years ago Tides Family Services received funding cuts from the State. When this occurred, staff were laid off and our building needs were neglected. It was a difficult time for everyone,” stated Beth Lemme-Bixby, Chief Operating Officer for Tides Family Services. “Although funding has slowly increased, our building needs became an emergency when our roof was leaking in multiple places and our building was run down.”
A meeting with Neighborhood Health Plan immediately changed this. Once it was realized that services were overlapping with multiple clients in the community receiving state funded insurance, it was decided that partnerships are the way to go. Not only has Neighborhood Health Plan supported Tides in their fundraising events, they helped coordinate over 150 volunteers from Tides staff, Neighborhood Health Plan and 35 students from the De LaSalle Academy Middle School. The De LaSalle students participated in community service as part of their mission to serve the poor.
“The work the students did was amazing. They not only completed their section within an hour, they then moved on to help us with other projects. We never would have gotten this all done if the students hadn’t done so much on the first day,” stated Beth Lemme-Bixby.
“We discussed an extreme makeover for the school and recreation area because we recognize that there are many studies that indicate paint colors can influence behavior,” stated Mary-Kate O’Leary, Sr. Director of Marketing and Fund Development. “We approached our local Sherwin Williams to see if they could send a color consultant to help us with the project. Once they became involved, they wanted to help as well.” Sherwin Williams donated over 35 gallons of paint and gave Tides a great discount on all materials while Neighborhood Health Plan paid for all paint, supplies, food and volunteers for the project! The project was valued at $35,000 in in-kind support!
Over four days people worked hard to give Tides in Pawtucket a facelift! Thirteen rooms and a large gymnasium required over 65 gallons of paint covering over 15,000 sq. ft. of recreation, school and office space.
“I was blown away”, said Brother Michael Reis, FSC. “The amount of work that was completed in such a short period of time was a miracle. To see so many people care about who we serve and what we do was simply beautiful.”
On Monday morning, school staff and students were welcomed with a big surprise. “Watching the reactions was so worth the wait,” said Peter Capalbo, Director of Tides Schools. “One student said they feel like they are now in ‘a real school.’ Another student stated ‘I don’t feel like I am in an institution, the colors are awesome.’ Our teachers cried!”
Because people were exposed to Tides Family Services’ mission, many want to purchase and donate items, and help replace the carpet and roof of the building.
“It has been a long time coming and we couldn’t have done this without working together, it is just the beginning,” stated Beth Lemme- Bixby.