The hospital can be a scary place for kids. That’s why Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital created the Clubhouse. Located on the fourth floor, the brightly painted room with its blue floors and red tile offered respite for children whose family members were being treated at the hospital. Under the watchful eyes of caring adults, kids could create crafts, watch movies, enjoy video games or play with toys.
In 2009, the Clubhouse fell victim to hospitalwide budget cuts.
Enter Linda Miller, who recently received the North Spokane Exchange Club’s Golden Deeds award for her efforts in reopening the Clubhouse. The award is intended to recognize individuals whose volunteer efforts may go unnoticed and to motivate others in the community to volunteer.
Miller, past president of the Spokane Association of Realtors, was looking for a project that would bring the real estate community together as well as benefit the public. She created a task force and went in search of such a venture. “We took a tour of the Children’s Hospital,” she recalled.
When Nettie Welshons, child life specialist at the Children’s Hospital, showed the group the closed Clubhouse, she said, “Linda’s eyes lit up. She said, ‘This is it! This is what I want to do!’ ”
And Welshons knew it was only a matter of time before the Clubhouse once again echoed with children’s laughter. “She’s the type of woman who can make things happen,” Welshons said. “After that first meeting, I knew she’d get it done.”
Miller said reopening the Clubhouse provided a project that would enable Spokane-area Realtors to work together while demonstrating the association’s investment in the community.
She said the first suggestion was that the group raise the operating costs for the Clubhouse. “I said, ‘No – we’re Realtors, we’re broke, but we do have volunteer hours.’ ” She laughed. “I spent 2010 recruiting those volunteers.”
The Golden Deeds Award is given to those who motivate others to volunteer, and Miller excels at motivation. In her efforts to attract volunteers, she said, “We included affiliates from the industry, lenders, title people and spouses.”
Exactly one year after it closed, the Clubhouse reopened, completely staffed by volunteers from the real estate industry. “Kids run in and are excited to be there,” Miller said.
Currently, the Clubhouse is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., but Miller hopes to have enough volunteers to extend services to five days a week by the end of July.
Welshons and other hospital staff members are delighted by Miller’s efforts and the volunteers from the Spokane Association of Realtors. “She has a passion,” said Welshons. “I’d like to be like Linda. She doesn’t stop at no; she just keeps going.”
Miller said she’s grateful to receive the Golden Deeds Award, but said, “The volunteers deserve the award. They really got behind the program.”