Mission moment written by Lady Collins, RN, BSN at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite
I remember coming to the United States (US) as a five-year-old girl only speaking Spanish and having to fully rely on television (TV) shows like Sesame Street or Reading Rainbow to learn how to speak English the summer before entering Kindergarten. It was easy as a child to pick up on a second language and I watched a lot of TV. However, I hardly recall being read to by my parents. We had very little as we acclimated to our new life and had to leave a lot behind. Aside from watching TV shows, I also had a wild imagination and loved playing doctor with my dolls.
Now as a mother, I enjoy reading to my kids and I see the love they have for books. I read to them in English, French and Spanish. I can see their little minds working as their eyes glow with excitement while we read the same book for the 10th time in a row. They have most of their books memorized at this point. Reading in various languages and speaking in various languages has opened many doors for success in my life.
The ability to communicate, to use my imagination, and to comprehend messages is key to innovation and community. Now that I am a first-generation graduate nursing student studying to be a Nurse Practitioner, I sought out clinics that serve lower socioeconomic Spanish-speaking communities. I have the pleasure of giving back to my community and serving a population so dear to my heart.
Now that I am a first-generation graduate nursing student studying to be a Nurse Practitioner, I sought out clinics that serve lower socioeconomic Spanish-speaking communities. I have the pleasure of giving back to my community and serving a population so dear to my heart.
When I started working at the Chamblee Primary Care clinic, I was elated to see bilingual board books. My preceptor was very detailed explaining when to give out a book and to be aware that families would ask me for a book even if they did not meet the requirements. I vividly remember stepping in to see an infant for their well-check, when I saw her board book falling apart. Her mom noticed me glancing over at her daughter’s book and she quickly filled me in. The infant’s mom explained to me that this was her daughter’s book from her last well-check and that she took her book everywhere she went. She was looking forward to her next well-check to receive a new book as this was the highlight of her day.
Her story was not the only one like this and out of 180 hours at the Chamblee clinic, I remember time after time when kids and their parents would tell me similar stories. It brought tears to my eyes each time. Another memorable story from this clinic included an older boy that came to our desk asking for a book for himself. Thankfully, he was there for his well-check and met the requirements to receive a book.
Lastly, a young toddler boy kept saying, “book, book, book” while we were doing his exam because he was so excited and looking forward to receiving his book. I am so thankful for a program like Reach Out and Read that exists to bring opportunity to children. Reading is a treasure and having books to give families without enough money to purchase their groceries let alone books, is a gift.