Each year, we welcome more than 20,000 patients and their family members into the Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
They come to us for a variety of reasons. Some need to use our computers; others want to check out a library book, DVD, video game or tablet. We also have many families who turn to the Family Resource Center to read and learn more about their child’s medical condition, to look for community resources, or to just get away for a bit and take a break.
Recently, I met a single mom who was looking for resources to help her and her child. She was struggling because her baby was struggling. It was my honor to support her in her search for information and help. I reinforced her own inner strength and cheered her on in her decisions for her child.
Helping families navigate and advocate for children
I’ve been a cheerleader and a source of support for our patient families since 2000. My role is to help visitors learn about resources in their communities. I also oversee the lending library operations and focus on the area of transition to adult health care.
My interest in helping families who have children with health care needs stems from parenting my own child who has special health care needs. Our daughter spent her first month of life here in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (almost 22 years ago!). Emily was born with a chromosomal difference and her challenges placed us in a whole new world. It can be a lonely and scary place for a parent until you learn the new terminology and skills needed to care for your child.
It’s been a joy to give back and see other families become stronger as they learn how to navigate and advocate for their children. The road is long for the mom I met recently, but she continues to move forward with the knowledge that she is not alone and that she is capable.
We invite you to visit our Family Resource Center. It’s located just off the lobby near the aquarium on the first floor of the hospital. Our staff is here to help!
– Julie Turkoske, information and referral specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Daniel M. Soref Family Resource Center offers parent-to-parent support, information, referrals and help connecting to community resources. Call (414) 266-3169 for more information.