Since 1998, the nonprofit Pope’s Kids Place has been providing respite and medical services for children with special needs in Lewis County and beyond. They now provide dentistry and preschool services as well. The nonprofit has been so overwhelmed by families needing help that they have far outgrown their current respite center, Vivian’s House.

Vivian's House
Vivian’s House was remodeled by Eagle Scouts in 1995, but it’s just too outdated to meet the needs of a mini-ICU. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

“Vivian’s House is an older home and is just not practical for what we do,” explains Kristie Worthey, executive director for Pope’s Kids Place. “We are basically a mini-ICU and that building can’t meet our needs.” Worthey adds that it has tight turns and cramped doorways that make it difficult to get around with wheelchairs and it doesn’t have enough outlets for all the medical equipment.

They decided it was time to build a new respite center on their property, so they could do more for more families. Pope’s Kids Place chose Benny Sandrini Construction because of their amazing reputation. “I heard about his reputation and I knew he would do a good job,” says Jim Phillips, one of the founders of Pope’s Kids Place and a current board member. “It’s not an ordinary building and he has done a great job with challenges he faced.”

“Working with Pope’s Kids Place has been a very humbling experience,” says Debbie Sandrini of Benny Sandrini Construction. “The people involved with Pope’s have a determination, and a strong love for our children in our community, beyond that the countless hours and minutes that are given to these children are done without complaint, done with complete compassion, from the nurses to the board. It’s an absolute honor to work with them every day!”

Pope's Place
The new building has a large nurse’s station, where at least two RNs are always working and can monitor all the rooms and the security door. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

The new 6,300-square-foot building is like a miniature hospital. Benny Sandrini Construction has gone to great lengths to make sure everything is made to help care for these kids. For example, extra wide doors so that wheelchairs and beds can move in out of the rooms easier. Multiple outlets and the power capacity for medical equipment and a double door security system. Some rooms will be equipped with lifts made to transfer children from their chairs to their beds, something that is extremely important for the safety of the children in their care. “Some of these children could die just by being picked up wrong,” Philips explains.

A Far Reaching Impact

The work they do at Pope’s Kids Place has a far reaching effect. Taking care of these children relieves stress and worry on the family. For many, it allows the parents to have jobs, which relieves financial strain. And it helps our economy by keeping workers in the workplace.

“For most of these parents, we are the only reason they can go to work,” Worthey says, “That is a huge impact financially and emotionally. Not being able to work, and the stress of the medical bills can even lead to divorce. We’ve seen it.”

Pope's Kids Place
Dr. Isaac Pope (right) and Jim Phillips (left) stand outside the new building. They are both so excited for the new building, which will allow them to give even better care to every child that comes to Pope’s Kids Place. Photo credit: Kristina Lotz

The center has waiting lists for all of their services and do their best to help as many children as they can. Because of the uniqueness of their program, they get families from as far away as Alaska who inquire about using their services.

A building as high-tech as the one they are building is not inexpensive. “Benny has helped us by cutting costs down as much as he could, wherever we could,” says Phillips. “He really helped us save money.” Still, the non-profit needs to raise $270,000 for the remainder of the building.

For more information about Pope’s Kids Place or to donate towards their new building, visit the Pope’s Kids Place website. For more information about Benny Sandrini Construction, visit Benny Sandrini Construction’s website or call 360-266-1302.

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