In our second installment of Five Question Friday — a feature every other Friday about the staff at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota — we introduce you to Kendall Munson, Family Resource Center coordinator. Munson has worked at Children’s for 31 years!
What do you do at the Family Resource Center? I provide system-wide coordination for the wide array of services available in the Family Resource Centers — including acquiring and cataloging materials for the consumer health and children’s libraries, assisting families with reference, resource and research questions, orienting staff and volunteers, teaming up with other departments and families to enhance, develop and promote services and also supporting Children’s fundraising efforts for patient/family-centered care initiatives.
You have worked at Children’s for 31 years. What keeps you here year after year? The shared sense of purpose and community among people who work at Children’s, as well as the resilience and courage of the patients and families we care for. Several years ago, I took a one-year “sabbatical” from Children’s. And, during that time, I quickly realized how much I missed the passion and dedication that staff and volunteers bring to their work here. It’s an ongoing source of inspiration!
What is your favorite memory from working at Children’s? In the late 80’s, I was invited to be a staff representative on the first Family Advisory Council. It was an honor and a privilege to be part of this pioneering group who saw the need to have a quiet, comfortable, library-type space for parents and adult family members of patients. They knew firsthand that having playrooms and a children’s library made a big difference in how patients coped with the hospital experience. And, they wanted to create something that addressed the needs of parents, as well.
Funding and lack of space were both obstacles that had to be overcome. But, thanks to the vision and determination of that Family Advisory Council, the first Family Resources “office” eventually opened in a small area that had at one time been an elevator landing. Twelve years later, through the continued perseverance of families who carried on the work of that first Council, the dream was fully realized when the Family Resource Center as we know it today opened in 1998.
And, I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to be part of the Family Resource Center for the past 15 years. A lot of great memories have been created since the humble beginnings in that converted elevator landing!
What have you learned from families? I’ve learned how important it is to take life day by day and sometimes moment by moment. And, regardless of the circumstances, to find some element of joy and gratitude each day. I’ll never forget the mom who told me in a very heartfelt way how much she enjoyed and appreciated coming to the Family Resource Center for a daily cup of instant hot chocolate during her child’s two-and-a-half-month hospital stay. Families have shown me that little things can and do make a big difference here at Children’s.
What is your favorite Starz Café meal? Freshly grilled chicken breast with a Caesar salad.