Certified child life specialist to speak March 4 as part of Common Read

 Penn State Brandywine will host a Common Read event with a presentation from Certified Child Life Specialist Tara Monroe on Tuesday, March 4, at 11:30 a.m. in the Tomezsko Building, room 103. Students, faculty and staff are invited to this powerful discussion, which is closely linked with this year's Common Read selection, The Fault in Our Stars.

Throughout the novel, author John Green tells a touching story about a 16-year-old girl with terminal cancer and a 17-year-old ex-basketball player and amputee who fall in love. The book follows the teens as they try to understand the meaning of their lives and how they will be remembered once they're gone.

As a certified child life specialist for the pediatric intensive care unit and the palliative care program at Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Monroe will discuss the real-life experiences of working with children and their families who suffer from life-altering and life-limiting injuries and illnesses.

Monroe explained that child life specialists are taught to understand that injury, illness and hospitalization are stressful events for patients and their families. Her goal is to provide a sense of normalcy for children in hospital environments. 

"I think the most rewarding part of my job is watching the resiliency that these children and their families have, even in the worst of circumstances," Monroe said. "I get a strong sense of pride from watching these children overcome and succeed in ways that normal success isn't measured."

Monroe, a Penn State graduate, earned her bachelor's degree in human development and family studies before beginning her rewarding career. She has worked in the healthcare field for seven years and has held positions in three different children's hospitals on the East Coast.

"I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field with children and to make a difference when I picked a career," she said.

Leading up to the event, Penn State Brandywine will host a Band-Aid drive to benefit the children of Alfred I. duPont Hospital. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to donate child-friendly Band-Aids, which can be dropped in collection boxes located at the entrance of every building on campus. Attendees can also bring their donations to the event on March 4. For information about the Band-Aid drive, contact Mary Fran McLaughlin at [email protected] or 610- 892-1383.

Light refreshments will be served at the March 4 event.

For more information about this year's Common Read selection visit Penn State Brandywine's Common Read webpage.