Helping to nurture the careers of future doctors and nurses, or to at least keep kids' brains a little more active over the summer is what the BJC Book Brigade program is all about.
So, before spring classes let out, the BJC HealthCare program is donating over 24,000 books at over 400 elementary schools, giving young students new stories to read and lessons to learn. This is the third year of the program through which BJC employee donations have purchased of over 70,000 books.
Memorial Regional Health Services president Mark Turner read books to three classes of second-graders Wednesday at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Belleville. The books' stories covered life lessons like how to share and how to get ready for bed without making a fuss. And maybe the visit will "have them thinking about a health care career a little bit," Turner said.
"Our goal is to have all students, by third grade, reading at grade level. So, kindergarten, first and second where Mr. Turner is reading to the kids is a critical age level where we build those building blocks," said Abraham Lincoln Elementary principal Ed Langen.
The two Illinois Memorial Hospitals in Belleville and Shiloh are part of the BJC HealthCare parent company which includes Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and about a dozen others in the region.
"I see the excitement on the kids' faces when we bring the books in. I love the Book Brigade," said BJC HealthCare community health educator LaKendra Moffett.