Credit Unions and Supporting Groups Host ‘Volunteer Day’ for Health and Wellness Garden at CHOP’s Nicholas and Athena Karabots Center for Pediatric Care

Volunteer Effort Represents Tradition of Credit Unions Honoring Cities that Host National Party Conventions with ‘Leave-Behind’ Projects Which Serve Local Communities

Published on in CHOP News CHOP Talk: A Voice for Children

group of volunteersVolunteers from local credit unions and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) joined staff from the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and RealClearPolitics in a “Volunteer Day” to help build a Health and Wellness Garden at CHOP’s Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center. Volunteers spent today filling planting beds with gravel and soil, planting vegetables and trees, painting a chalkboard wall for patients and other projects.

The Health and Wellness Garden is in honor of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place during the week of the convention, July 25-28, in Philadelphia.                                            

The groundbreaking took place in May, and volunteer day is the next step in helping transform the space into a vitally important resource for patient and community engagement programs, including nutritional experiences, physical activities and a site to host events for patient programs, such as Reach Out and Read.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and RealClearPolitics are honoring the Democratic National Convention by taking on the project. The effort represents a tradition of credit unions honoring cities that host the national party conventions with “leave-behind” projects which serve the local communities long after the conventions have left town. A similar project is being done for the children’s hospital in Cleveland, host of the Republican National Convention. 

"The volunteer garden at the Karabots Center solidifies that CHOP is supporting the community from the ground up," said Linda Schnolis, member of the Karabots Family Advisory Council. "At CHOP, we say that hope lives here, but now with this garden, hope also grows here." 

“The Health and Wellness Garden at our Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Care Center will be a wonderful resource for patient families and community members alike,” said Madeline Bell, president and CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We’re grateful that the Democratic National Convention will give us an opportunity to showcase it to visitors from throughout the country, and we appreciate the ongoing support of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association and our local credit unions in helping to bring projects like these to fruition.” 

Volunteers at Karabots garden“CHOP is proud of our role in this community, and the Health and Wellness Garden is just one of many ways our network of over 50 locations partners with neighbors to improve the health of children,” said Peter Grollman, senior vice president, public affairs at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “We are excited to use this garden to promote good nutrition in a fun and engaging way.” 

“Credit unions have been proudly conducting leave-behind projects in honor of the Democratic National Convention since 2000 to leave a lasting impression on communities like Philadelphia that have opened their doors to national nominating conventions,” said Trey Hawkins, CUNA vice president. “This meaningful work, bringing a health and wellness garden to a community in need, will continue to serve its purpose long after the convention leaves town.”

Karabots garden“Every child deserves access to green space and fresh produce. I am proud to join with the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, the Credit Union National Association, RealClearPolitics and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in ensuring that children in West Philadelphia find a source of nutritional value not far from their own backyards,” said DNCC CEO Rev. Leah D. Daughtry. “I am confident that this health and wellness garden will live on for years to come, and members of this community will be able to remember that the Democratic National Convention cared deeply about the future Philadelphia’s children.

“Thanks to the credit unions and CHOP we’ve had an opportunity to participate in something uplifting and important leading up to this year’s Democratic National Convention,” said RealClearPolitics Washington bureau chief Carl Cannon. "It’s an honor to be a part of this continued partnership.”

“Credit unions from this region and beyond have been strong supporters of the Children’s Miracle Network and CHOP,” stated Rick Wargo, EVP/general counsel of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association. “It is great to see this wellness garden coming together and the Democratic National Convention shines the perfect spotlight on the great work that credit unions do cooperatively in their communities.”

Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is spearheading fundraising by the credit unions. They have already raised more than their target goal of $300,000, the amount needed to cover the costs of the project.

CUNA, credit unions in Cleveland and RealClearPolitics also are working with the Republican National Convention on a companion project for a year round horticultural therapy suite at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, site of the 2016 Republican National Convention.

More information

About The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation’s first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children’s Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.

About CUNA: With its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) serves America's credit unions, which are owned by more than 100 million consumer members. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable financial services to people from all walks of life. For more information about CUNA, visit www.cuna.org or follow @CUNA on Twitter. For more information about credit unions, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and follow @asmarterchoice on Twitter.

About Pennsylvania Credit Union Association: Credit unions are financial cooperatives that provide affordable financial services to help their owner/members. The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is a trade association that provides legislative, promotional, educational, and operational support for credit unions in Pennsylvania. There are 471 credit unions headquartered in Pennsylvania with assets in excess of $38 billion dollars and 3.8 million members. For additional information about credit unions or to find a credit union near you, visit www.ibelong.org.