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Lessons from Sister Jerome

Published: Fri, June 15, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Lessons from Sister Jerome

When I opened last Thurs- day’s Vindicator, I thought I was experiencing a bad dream: a nightmare!

I worked with Sr. Jerome Corcoran at the Millcreek Day Care Center when it was located on Glenwood Avenue. My job was health coordinator.

Where else would a daycare center employ a health coordinator? My duties were to do for the mostly poor children what I had done for my own. I escorted them for required shots. I accompanied them to a local ear doctor for their many infections. We had a speech therapist, who came three times a week; we engaged a podiatrist for biannual examinations, and an eye doctor visited our facility twice a year. In the adjoining building, there was a once federally-funded, abandoned dental office. I prevailed upon Neil Altman, the then health commissioner, to allow us to use the facility. Dr. Jeren came weekly to examine, clean, and repair the children’s teeth.

The first week of my employment I was shocked to learn that the four-year-olds were able to identify geometric figures, some of which I learned in 10th grade geometry class.

The food was nutritious. After lunchtime, they took naps. Sister Jerome knew that children could not learn on empty stomachs.

We did a great deal of “begging.”

Where was the current board of directors when Sister raised $3,000,000 for the present day care center?

My father taught me that I am, indeed, “my brother’s keeper,” by charitable donations of money. Sister Jerome taught me that I am “my brother’s keeper” by hands-on caring.

To me Sister Jerome is “Wonder Woman,” my heroine, my candidate for sainthood.

Judith Gross, Youngstown


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