Patient families and staff reunite to celebrate Graffiti Project

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Perkins Square Park resembled a family reunion on Aug. 13 when patient families and Akron Children’s employees came together to celebrate the conclusion of the Graffiti Project.

The Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation created the Graffiti Project as a way to honor, remember and celebrate the hospital’s current and former patients. Between November 2013 and February 2014 more than 200 nominations were submitted and stenciled on the concrete facade of the new medical building on the Akron campus.

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During the event, patient families received a photo of their loved one’s name on the building as well as the nomination that was submitted in their honor.

President and CEO Bill Considine spoke at the event, explaining why the project began and how vital the patients and their families are to the hospital.

“The real foundation of this campus – the real foundation of the new medical tower—are the children and the families that we are so privileged to serve,” said Considine.

More than 250 people attended the party, including twins William and Georgia Victory, who spent 2 months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“It’s so exciting and such an honor to be a lasting part of Akron Children’s,” said the twins’ mother, Bianchi Victory. “They wouldn’t be here without Children’s, and now it will forever be a part of our lives.”

Many others shared their stories as they enjoyed ice cream and the beautiful weather. Some even took pictures with their photos and nominations in front of the new building, which has since been covered with a brick exterior.

“Even though we’re covering up the names, they are going to be with us relative to everything we do and all the wonderful services that are going to be provided in this medical tower,” Considine said.

The new building is set to be completed in early 2015 and will begin providing services to the community in May 2015.

Day in the Life: A union steward and laborer

Cedric SommervilleIt’s a warm, fall morning and Cedric Sommerville begins his day a little after 7 a.m., putting out water for all of his crew members.

He and his laborers have a busy day ahead of them. A concrete pour is scheduled for that afternoon and the wall panels and floor “tables” must be in place.

Sommerville’s a Local 894 union steward and laborer for the Welty/Boldt Co. on Akron Children’s Hospital’s $200 million “Building on the Promise” expansion campaign.

Cedric Sommerville

As he walks the job site to ensure it’s free from safety hazards, he notices one of his laborers could use a hand. He jumps right in and helps Briant carry a handrail and then hold it in place, while a carpenter screws it down.

Sommerville’s main role is to make sure each of his 16 laborers is being treated fairly, performing their jobs and working smoothly with the other crews on-site. If a problem arises, he’s there to help settle the issue with the construction foreman.

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“Coming out of the Local 894, they expect a certain amount of responsibility out of their laborers and I’m here to make sure that the company that hired them gets it,” he said.

Cedric Sommerville works with a team to build the new medical tower at Akron Children'sLucky for Sommerville and his workers, things are running smoothly with minimum issues and no major injuries. That’s unheard of, especially more than three months into construction.

Normally, something arises right off the bat, he said. Sommerville’s even had to call in a union representative to settle issues in extreme circumstances — something he hasn’t had to do at Akron Children’s.

He credits the smooth process to the project’s Integrated Lean Delivery Method and team environment to the leaders at Welty/Boldt. They are on the site daily, talking to crews and assessing safety concerns to keep the project running as efficiently as possible.

“It’s like everyone’s on their best behavior,” said Sommerville. “It’s like they know we’re working at a children’s hospital, and they know [the kids] are watching out the window.”

With no issues to settle today, Sommerville begins his daily duties as a laborer. Today, he’ll be stock piling and transporting materials, helping to pour the concrete and cleaning up the job site.

Cedric Sommerville

His laborer, Hutch, calls him over for help. He helps him stack a pile of concrete panels, wrapping them in rope and hooking the load to the overhead crane.

The crane operator then lifts the stack and transports it to the other side of the job site, where they will be placed as a mold for the pour later that day.

“Just trying not to be nit-picking on every little thing,” said Sommerville on what it takes to succeed here. “You’ve got to give and take some. Most of all, treat people with respect. Talk to them instead of hollering and screaming at them.”

Sommerville got his start in the business 20 years ago after walking past a Ruhlin Construction project and walking onto the site to apply for a job. After much persistence and never giving up, he finally got the call to report to work there.

Cedric Sommerville assists a laborer

Since then, Sommerville has worked on several construction sites for Akron Children’s, the Hoover plant in Canton and Dirt Devil in Solon, to name a few. He has served as the Local 894’s union steward for eight years and its Sergeant of Arms for five.

“You just work around new people all the time, you get to meet new friends,” he said as the best part about this job. “If you get laid off, you can call them and [we support each other].”

Video: Child life specialists weigh in on Akron Children’s new critical care tower

Our child life specialists play a critical role in helping to reduce stress and anxiety for children and families before, during and after medical procedures. It’s a perspective they’re sharing with the team planning and building the new $200-million critical care tower at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Help us build a better hospital

Akron Children’s Hospital hosted its first family focus group in August to help design its new critical care tower.

Akron Children’s Hospital is seeking families to share their vision for a new ER and outpatient surgery center during the second in a series of family focus groups on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Our new critical care tower will be designed to enhance the quality, family-centered care we’ve been providing for more than 120 years.

Patient families offer an important perspective in the planning process.

“Your input will help us ensure the space is created as a healing environment for patients and families,” said Judy Doyle, parent advisor coordinator at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Parents are encouraged to bring their children ages 9 and older because we’d like their opinions too.

To attend or for more information, contact Judy at 330-543-3072 or jdoyle@chmca.org. Space is limited.

Check out the August family focus group.