June 6, 2005
UVA's Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center (KCRC) was a beneficiary of an extreme makeover this weekend, thanks to some caring people with paint brushes and power tools.
The before: cold empty rooms, old furniture, no decorations, rusted sinks and molding bathrooms.
"We just saw how dreary and institutional the room was," said Jodie LeBlanc, Volunteer Coordinator. "One of my neighbors said why don't we buy them a new television and I said why don't we just re-do the room."
LeBlanc lead a team of volunteers to support a family who's son was being treated at the Kluge Center after a car accident. But re-doing one room quickly turned into fixing all of them.
"If they're in a good mood because they've stayed in a room that's kind of cheery and bright and helps them get that way, it's going to help them when they go and see their children to be in a better frame of mind," said volunteer Mindy Bronipolsky.
The Kluge Center provides housing, so parents can stay with their children during the rehabilitation process.
"When Children come to KCRC, their parents are part of the team so we want to make sure that they have a place to stay," said Jan Allaire, Director of KCRC.
Over 60 volunteers from the family's church, Centerville United Methodist, the young man's boy scout troop, UVA, and the Kluge Center worked to completely re-do the rest of the rooms.
"It's great to be able to get in here and actually do something with your hands and say 'I did that,' get the paint all over your shirt, it's a good feeling," said Kelly Whitton, UVA student who lived near the accident victim and his family.
"It makes you feel good to be able to do it," LeBlanc said.
While the rooms contained furniture before, decorators paid attention to detail--adding artwork, note pads, and even hangers in the closets.
The Kluge Center provides eight rooms at the Commonwealth Court, which was once a prestigious hotel.