Dr. Lana Warren: Today I am joined by Sharon Holloway-Gentemann, the program director of our medically fragile day care at PACT, an affiliate of Kennedy Krieger.
Sharon Holloway-Gentemann: Our medical child care center has been around for over 20 years now and when I really think back about what’s made our program so successful, it’s really about the staff. We had a young woman who started in orientation with us recently. Her first day in the classroom she was coming in during nap time and then some of the children started to wake up and I could see that this enthusiastic staff person started to look very different. Her face started to kind of crumble and her eyes weld up with tears and I wasn’t sure what was happening until I looked and noticed the one particular child she was paying most attention to in that moment and it was a little boy who was working very hard to get off of his cot, who was working very hard to scoot across the floor and who continued to work really hard to pull up to stand at this bookshelf. He had a favorite book and he really wanted that book and so he did his best to get it. Once he had it, he tucked it in his little arm that he couldn’t fully use at that point so it was his little helper arm and he plopped to the floor and he scooted right back across the room to her and handed her this book.
She took a minute to regroup and to think “what am I supposed to do now?” and the little boy pointed at the book, banged on the book and she started reading to him. At the end of the day, she said “You know, I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It just seemed too sad to watch him struggle and work so hard for things that should be so easy. But then he showed me this is life, you know? He loves books. He loved to play ball. He couldn’t wait for a stroller ride in the afternoon. He was filled with possibilities”. For me, I felt like we’d found that perfect person for our center. Who was going to be willing to learn from the children about what motivated them? What were their successes? And to join them where they were. She is a member of our team and we are so grateful.
Dr. Lana Warren: Inspiring moments produced for WYPR by Kennedy Krieger Institute. I am Dr. Lana Warren.