Healthcare heroes at Children’s Mercy team up with Kansas City library to get kids reading

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the last year and a half, healthcare heroes have been working to keep people safe through the pandemic. Starting Wednesday, a few in Kansas City get to work on something a little more fun.

Catie Brouse is one of nearly 30 of healthcare workers ready to read. Employees at Children’s Mercy are working with the Kansas City Public Library on an online reading project. It’s aimed at all children, but the books are at an infant to 5-year-old knowledge level.

“It just seemed like such a natural fit to highlight and honor the incredibly hardworking healthcare heroes in our community, and tie that in with building literary literacy skills with kids,” said Molly Doroba, the early learning librarian for Kansas City Public Library.

In one of the videos, Brouse reads one of her favorite books and introduces herself to the kids.

“You might come and see me in the emergency department if you have an earache or if you throat hurts. Today I’m going to be reading ‘Blueberries for Sal’ by Robert McCloskey,” Brouse said.

“I think because we’ve been so focused on the pandemic, I wanted to do something that was really fun, something that would give back to the community, something that wasn’t related to wearing a mask or thinking about where I can go something that was just fun,” Brouse said.

Kaley Wajcman is an art therapist at Children’s Mercy. She picked a book that helps kids see their art as imperfect, yet beautiful in the book “Ish” by Peter H. Reynolds.

“I love this part because Ramon is drawing exactly what he feels,” Wajcman said.

“[To] give themselves permission to create that something might not come out the way that they want it to the first time or even the second time,” Wajcman said.

The weekly videos hope to give kids not only a chance to read, but to get to know heroes in their community.

“Maybe going to the doctor is scary, but the importance of seeing how friendly they are — I think that’s really important,” Doroba said.

“There’s a fun side to us. We’re not always so serious in our work setting. And just so that they know that people who are in their community care about them and want them to have these opportunities through the library,” Brouse said.

Each day of May, a hero will read a new book online. You can find them on the Kansas City Public Library’s Youth YouTube page.

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