Driscoll resident leads book drive for young clinic patients

Giving back ‘is part of being a member of a community,’ she said

CORPUS CHRISTI – In an effort to promote early childhood literacy, Driscoll Children’s Hospital senior resident Shaye Walston, DO, recently spearheaded a project to collect children’s books for patients at Amistad Community Health Center. Donations skyrocketed, and on May 1, 850 books were delivered to the clinic. They’re being given to patients when they arrive for well-child checkups.

“Every book will make a big difference to the child who receives it,” Dr. Walston said. “By my calculations, these should last Amistad nearly a year.”

The new and gently used books were donated by Driscoll’s resident physicians and members of the community, Dr. Walston said. They’re suitable for kids 0-18 years old.

“We were very surprised and grateful when Dr. Walston arrived in her car loaded with boxes,” said Amistad physician Lori Anderson, MD. “The kids here love to pick out a book to take home after their appointments. All of the books will be enjoyed.”

The book drive is part of an advocacy campaign titled “Read, Lead, Succeed” that is sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Medical Students, Residents, and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT). Dr. Walston is the outgoing AAP delegate for Driscoll’s residency program.

According to the AAP website, “When researching for projects, SOMSRFT executive committee members learned that one-third of 4th graders read so poorly they cannot complete their schoolwork successfully and children who are read to regularly are 3-4 times less likely to drop out of school. Statistics like this coupled with recent budget cuts to important programs stood out to the group and inspired everyone to try and make changes.”

Dr. Walston, who plans to remain in Corpus Christi and practice as a general pediatrician after graduating from Driscoll’s residency program next month, hopes to help future Driscoll residents give back to the community through annual donation drives.

“I think giving back is part of being a member of a community,” she said. “Growing up, my parents encouraged us to educate ourselves, and reading was one of the best ways to pass time. To be able to give children a chance to further themselves and find a book to lose themselves in is just a small way to open doors for their future.”

Dr. Walston has entered the book drive in a contest among residency programs for their advocacy projects sponsored by the Boston-based organization Reach Out & Read. Projects are graded on a variety of factors and the winning residency program, to be chosen this summer, will receive hundreds of books for the clinic of their choice, she said.