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Painters union volunteers give new Tides Family Services building a much needed upgrade



Over 20 painters from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 11 volunteered their time Saturday, painting the outside of the Tides Family Services building on 242 Dexter Street in Pawtucket. Saturday marked the IUPAT’s annual Community Day of Action. IUPAT DC 11 volunteers painted the 20,000 square foot building to, “help people know that the community cares for them.”

“It is our pride and honor to give back to the communities that we live and work in,” said Painters Union Business Representative Justin Kelley. “Tides Family Services is an essential part of taking care of the most vulnerable in our society and like our union makes sure no one in our working class communities are left behind. We are happy to be a part of making sure that all people in our state have good places to live, learn and work.”

Last fall Neighborhood Health Plan arranged for 150 volunteers to paint the inside of the building to make the special education school a healthy learning environment. Sherwin Williams donated paint and the inside was completed in September.

The Pawtucket facility is one of two special education day school programs Tides operates; the other is in West Warwick. Tides specializes in working with students from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds who need a smaller, therapeutic setting in order to reach their educational goals. The Tides School works with local school departments, community groups and families to ensure that each student receives the appropriate level of academic support as well as therapeutic services so that they have every opportunity to achieve a successful academic experience. Last year 11 students graduated from Tides’ schools. In addition, the building houses Tides outreach and tracking staff and therapists who provide services throughout the Pawtucket and Central Falls area. They also partner with the State Juvenile Probation Department who have offices located at Dexter Street.

“Our motto is, “We never give up on a kid – never,” said Tides founder and Chief Visionary Officer Brother Michael Reis. “As we celebrate 35 years of serving the neediest and poorest families throughout Rhode Island I am blown away by the level of support we are receiving to make our space a better place for kids and families. When the kids see how many people care for them they see the community in a more positive way which gives them a better sense of self-worth.”

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Brother Michael Reis

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Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.