12/06/18

Carle leader adds children’s author to resume, inspires giving

Some gifts can’t be wrapped and placed under a tree. The gift of life-long learning is invaluable, priceless even.

“Reading is an essential skill for children. It helps build vocabulary and stimulates their imagination,” said James C. Leonard, MD, Carle president and chief executive officer. Still, far too many kindergartners are unprepared on their first day of school.

Inspired to help meet a need, Dr. Leonard authored “Argus,” the tale of a lone goose adopted and protected by the children of a village, loosely based on a true story from Monticello. Dr. Leonard donated 250 copies for Healthy Beginnings families so children would have a book in their home.

“It brings tears to my eyes to think about kids who don’t have access to reading. In my family, holding a book was a very hands-on, personal experience,” Dr. Leonard said.

Bring the gift of reading to area children and families this season in two ways.

Julianna Sellett, vice president, Community Health Initiatives, said most of the homes they visit have little to no books. When visiting, nurses deliver new or gently used books for all children in the household. Each family will receive a copy of Argus, which as a “happy accident,” doubles as a coloring book.

Just one book can make a world of difference to a young child. “Argus” brings a message of hope to families about coming together, building community and being supporting of positive things – like giving back.

“Giving is consistent with who we are – me and my wife, Robin, and Carle,” Dr. Leonard said of choosing the Auxiliary to benefit from the book sale.

“The Auxiliary is the historical backbone of the institution. They are often the first and last people patients and visitors see,” Dr. Leonard said. “Everything they do is for us, so I can do this small thing to help them.”

The Auxiliary provides support to extend Carle’s mission of providing world class healthcare to all through programs like Healthy Beginnings.

“Our hope is to help families in the Champaign-Urbana area thrive for generations,” said Jonathan Woods, MSN, executive director of Community Health Initiatives. “Nearly fourteen months into this work, and with more than 125 healthy babies born in the program and 200 families supported, it’s so humbling to see the growth our clients have experienced.”

Focusing on building a community of health, positivity and inclusion, much like the characters in “Argus,” provides families an opportunity to be prosperous and live the healthiest life they can.