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Medical School alumni donate to the Child Development Center
In 11-year-old Alexa Bridges' very experienced opinion, UT Houston Auxiliary Enterprises' Child Development Center deserves whatever comes its way - especially if its money.
All four children of University of Texas Medical School alumni Patrick Bridges, M.D., and Laura Johnson, M.D., were cared for at the school's Child Development Center (CDC), so the couple recently made a gift of thanks to the CDC. The children, from left going clockwise, are: Hollis, 6, Owen, 10, Sarina, 7, and Alexa Bridges, 11.
Who would know better than Bridges, who spent five years of her life at the university child care facility? Except maybe her siblings, Owen, 10, Sarina, 7, and Hollis, 6. They, like their sister, benefited from the center's curriculum and socialization from the age of six-weeks to 5 years.
At one time, all four of the Bridges children were at the Child Development Center (CDC). That's when Patrick Bridges, M.D., their father, and Laura Johnson, M.D., their mother, knew they must give back in a big way for the role the center played in caring for their children.
In the summer of 2007, the couple, both graduates of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, donated a sizeable gift to the CDC. The funds will most likely be used for playground equipment, according to Diane Brooks, who co-manages the center with Honey El-Naggar.
The plan for more outside equipment has Owen Bridges' vote. He said he always enjoyed activities that allowed him to be outside with his friends and he is sure the other children would benefit from outside play as well.
As for receiving the donation, Brooks said the center staff was "shocked" and "surprised", but "grateful" all the same. She added that although parents often give gifts-in-kind, large monetary donations are rare.
But then again, having four children go through the same child care center isn't all that common either. Johnson said they enrolled their first child at the center when the couple was just finishing up at UT Medical School. Bridges graduated in 1995 and Johnson graduated in 1996. With each child, both she and her husband had to continue working fulltime. The CDC made them much more comfortable about leaving their children.
"There are other child care facilities near the Texas Medical Center where people can choose to take their children, but it's the quality of programming and longevity of the staff that sets us apart," Brooks said. "Our team is always willing to go the extra mile for the busy students, faculty and staff of the TMC."
The CDC, which started 23 years ago, takes care of 136 children year-round and has a constant waiting list, sometimes up to a year long. Brooks said the demand for the center's care is so high that many parents get on the waiting list as soon as they learn they are expecting a child.
By Erika Durham Hargrove, for Institutional Advancement
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