This year, the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) celebrates its 100th anniversary. During 30 of those 100 years, Dr. Linda Reeves served as the pediatrician to the children and families in two of the four locations with pediatrics, 20 years at the old Western Health Center and her last five years of practice at the Central location.
Dr. Reeves played an instrumental part in implementing Reach Out and Read-Alabama in the Jefferson County Health Departments in early 2006.
According to Voices for Alabama’s Children Kids Count Data Book, 31.4 percent of Jefferson County’s children under the age of five live in poverty with 38.6 percent of children under the age of 18 in single parent families.
Growing up, Dr. Reeves’ family put a high value on education and recalls that one of the first books that her Mom read to her was Cat in the Hat.
“I had a patient that was old enough to start talking but could only babble. His mother had low literacy skills, but I showed her how to use the book to tell a story, even if she didn’t know the words. The next time they came in for a checkup, the little fellow was saying 'dog.' The book I gave them had pictures of different animals. That’s the first word I had heard him say!”
Not only did Dr. Reeves help start Reach Out and Read at the JCDH, but she has supported the program financially even after her retirement. She currently has four grandchildren that love books. In fact, they continue to read The Cat in the Hat at Christmas family gatherings.
Dr. Reeves has taught medical classes online the last six years since her retirement and is now concentrating her time and efforts on writing. We look forward to highlighting that book here, once completed and published.
We thank donors like Dr. Linda Reeves, who know first hand the impact the program can have on the preparation for children to be successful in school and life.