The work landscape at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) took on a different look on April 25. That’s because, like other organizations and businesses throughout the United States and Canada, WRNMMC and NSAB participated in the 20th annual “Take Your Child to Work Day.”
The day began with morning formation led by Army Col. Ramona Fiorey, WRNMMC chief of staff, in front of the iconic Tower. She welcomed the “newest workers” to WRNMMC and NSAB for the day. “You wonder what happens when your mom and dad go to work every day? Hopefully, today you will find out.”
The purpose of Take Your Child To Work Day is to inspire youth by bringing them into workplaces to explore the many life choices they have, according to the event organizers.
Army Spc. Saskia Dula-Klontz, who works as a social worker at WRNMMC, brought her sons Avant and Pierre to spend the day with her at the medical center. Pierre said a visit to the occupational therapy department was the highlight of his day, and being able to hang out with his mother was a close second.
Coordinators for the event at Walter Reed Bethesda created an a la carte program that allowed children to choose which events interested them. This year’s program provided several motivating opportunities for youth to experience a variety of professions.
Children met therapy dogs, toured NSAB and the National Museum of Health and Science, at nearby Forest Glen. They also got a chance to see the work done by staff in WRNMMC physical and occupational therapy clinics.
Frederick Kelly said he was excited to have his daughter join him at work. “I really wanted to bring her on the tour of the museum, and go myself.”
When the day was done, the youth had a greater understanding of a day at the Nation’s Medical Center and NSAB, according to Patricia Crawford, an organizer of the event at WRNMMC.
She explained although Walter Reed staff members typically invite their own children and relatives to join them at work, in recent years program organizers encouraged employees to invite children from residential programs or shelters who may not be exposed to adults in skilled professions on a daily basis.
Fiorey thanked parents who brought their children to the event. “This is important because we’re raising the next generation of us, and that’s important.”
In 1993, Gloria Steinem and the Ms. Foundation for Women founded the event, first known as “Take Our Daughters To Work Day.” The program expanded to include young men in 2003. Organizers estimate more than 25 million young people have participated in the event since the year 2000.