RICHMOND, Va. – As a pediatrician, Dr. Carolyn Boone has treated many ailments. From tummy aches and ear infections, to common colds. But one of the biggest disorders she has fought, on a daily basis, is illiteracy.
“I give them a book,” Dr. Boone said. “People ask me why I’m so happy. I’m happy because I feel I’m a part of this.”
Dr. Boone has been serving the underprivileged at her practice in the heart of downtown Richmond for nearly 30 years.
“We’re winning. We’re winning. One child at a time,” Dr. Boone said. “I think they’re my extended my family.”
Thanks to a partnership with Reach Out and Read, books in her office on Belvidere are as important as baby aspirin.
“Of course a book is not going to treat an ear infection, but maybe while he is being treated a mother is reading a book to him,” Dr. Boone said. “You see it at six months of age. They’ve got a hard book. They may put the book in their mouth, but it is still a book.”
Dr. Boone’s love of literature stretches back to her childhood when Carolyn’s foster mother instilled an appreciation of reading.
“I grew up very poor, but what I had was books,” she said. “She believed in me. She said to pass it on. I hope I’m passing it on. I think I am.”
Dr. Boone’s patients heed her advice. Kasee Wright said her three-year-old daughter Nyhla started to devour books ever since coming to Dr. Boone’s office.
“It is very important to know that she is going to be learning every time she comes to the doctor and every time she leaves,” Wright said.
Some of Dr. Boone’s former patients have graduated from Princeton, UVa. and Harvard. That makes for one proud pediatrician.
“Their imagination they can do anything,” Dr. Boone said. “They need that support. They need someone to believe in them. And I get my rewards every day.”
Whether they’re healthy or feeling under the weather children leave Dr. Carolyn Boone’s office with a prescription — for success.
“I love what I do,” Dr. Boone said. “You can do anything. You can do anything. We have to believe in them. We have to give them the tools. And part of the tools is reading.”
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