Painters’ Young Lions bring Santa, lots of joy to hospitalized children

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And the helped paint the hospital, too!

Santa is joined by his “elves” from the Painters District Council 2 who helped make Christmas a lot brighter for 27 children at Rankin Jordan Pediatric Hospital over the holidays. Painters Young Lions (from left), Dave Neels, Steve Gosney, Santa (Matt Neels), Young Lions President Page Lucks, Zach Crites, and Amy Stricker. In front, Jake, Micah and Hannah Lucks who received a first-hand lesson on the joys of giving. – Gary Otten photos
Santa is joined by his “elves” from the Painters District Council 2 who helped make Christmas a lot brighter for 27 children at Rankin Jordan Pediatric Hospital over the holidays. Painters Young Lions (from left), Dave Neels, Steve Gosney, Santa (Matt Neels), Young Lions President Page Lucks, Zach Crites, and Amy Stricker. In front, Jake, Micah and Hannah Lucks who received a first-hand lesson on the joys of giving.             – Gary Otten photo

Maryland Heights- While Christmas may be over, thanks to the efforts of the Young Lions of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 2, the children at the Rankin Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital here will long remember that Santa did not forget them even though they were in the hospital and away from their family’s traditional Christmas celebrations.

The Young Lions are a group of young union painters who band together to do community outreach throughout the year. They have an active program helping all kinds of community organizations.

Last Dec. 21, the group took presents for 27 children to the hospital and even Santa was so impressed, that he came along, said Page Lucks, District Council 2 organizer and president of the Young Lions, who spearheads the group’s ongoing charitable efforts.

‘MADE AN IMPACT’

Playing Santa was third year apprentice Matt Neels, member Local 1199. “It made a strong impact on me,”Neels said, “to do something nice for kids in need who probably don’t see a lot at Christmas anyway.”

 

MAKING LOTS OF KIDS HAPPY, Santa Claus took time with each of the 27 children at the Rankin Jordan Pediatric Hospital during Christmas week to shower them with love, attention and of course, gifts provided by the Young Lions group of young painters, members of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 2. Local 1199’s Matt (Santa) Neels was at the top of his game with each and every child.   – Gary Otten photo
MAKING LOTS OF KIDS HAPPY, Santa Claus took time with each of the 27 children at the Rankin Jordan Pediatric Hospital during Christmas week to shower them with love, attention and of course, gifts provided by the Young Lions group of young painters, members of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 2. Local 1199’s Matt (Santa) Neels was at the top of his game with each and every child. – Gary Otten photo

The children’s reactions to Santa: “Some were actually speechless, others lit up lit up like a Christmas tree. On young girl had a smile from ear-to-ear when she saw Santa.

“I’d do this every year; it was sheer joy,” Neels added.

SECOND TRIP TO HOSPITAL

This was the second time during Christmas that the union visited he hospital. Early in December, they joined hundreds of volunteers to help paint the facilities.

The painters took on a special role: that of teacher. One painter was put with every group to give them instructions on how to paint, how to roll, how to remove debris from walls.

“The staff was a little overwhelmed when so many volunteers showed up. The asked us to help organize the effort, do some teaching and keep the project moving,” Lucks said.

On a single Saturday, they painted almost the entire hospital.

Ranken Jordan is one of only a few hospitals of its kind in the U.S. It serves as a "health care hub" coordinating care that is provided by multiple doctors and therapists. They proudly include families and all caregivers of patients directly in a child’s care, including referring doctors, specialists, therapists and social workers.

The goal is to ensure every child receives highly personalized treatment and allows the team to address every issue facing the child and family, including mental, emotional and spiritual needs, the hospital’s web site points out (www.rankinjordan.org).

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