Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic: There for Us No Matter What
By Marva Harris, Jonah and Jeremiah’s grandmother and guardian
I’m the grandmother of two of the best grandkids I could ever have. I’m also their guardian and sole provider.
My oldest grandson came to live with me permanently when he was 2 years old, because my daughter was struggling with substance abuse. I also took in his baby brother when he was 8 months old after my daughter relapsed with drugs and alcohol and suffered severe domestic violence.
Today, Jonah, 13, and Jeremiah, 4, are thriving in my home despite their challenges, and I give some of the credit to Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. It’s the only primary care clinic near my Beacon Hill neighborhood that has medical, dental, mental health and nutrition services under one roof. I call it one-stop shopping and that’s been a lifesaver for me. In my job as a middle school security officer, it’s almost impossible to get away from work. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to run all over the city to take the boys to different doctors’ offices!
“My grandkids’ doctors take the time to find out what’s going on in their lives, not just in their bodies.”
Care for body, mind and spirit
The number one reason the clinic has had such a huge impact on us is that my grandkids’ doctors take the time to find out what’s going on in their lives, not just in their bodies.
When Jonah showed symptoms of ADHD and anxiety, Dr. Shaquita Bell, our primary care provider, didn’t label him. She looked deeper at the root cause of his behavior, and then involved one of Odessa’s mental health counselors to help my grandson cope with the chaos in his mom’s life. She also helps us make sure Jeremiah’s severe food allergies aren’t made worse by this family stress.
And the care at Odessa Brown extends beyond my grandkids.
When we come for checkups, Dr. Bell always asks me, “Marva, how are you doing? What do you need?” The first time she said that, I fell in love with her! She’s not only concerned about the boys, she’s concerned about me. (At 62, it’s not easy to raise kids. The rapport I have with Dr. Bell and the support she offers mean the world to me. She’s a truly remarkable and compassionate caregiver who explains everything in a way that I can understand and makes me feel great about the job I’m doing as a parent.)
Quality care with dignity and respect
When I first brought Jonah to Odessa Brown 13 years ago, I came because the clinic was part of Seattle Children’s and I knew he’d get the best quality of care. Little did I know that we’d still be walking through those doors today, and now the clinic feels like family. Everyone speaks to us. Everyone is warm and friendly. They couldn’t have anyone more amazing than the people who work there already. Also, whether we’re in the waiting room or the exam room, we see people who look like us – and that’s a part of the clinic experience that is very affirming for me and the boys!
It truly takes a village to raise kids, and the care team at Odessa is very important to Jonah and Jeremiah. It sounds funny to say that the clinic means everything to me, too, but it does. I know long after my grandsons are all grown up, I’ll stay connected with Odessa Brown – the place that’s there for us no matter what.
Read about Jonah and Jeremiah’s journey with Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic:
Meet More It Starts With Yes Patient Ambassadors
About It Starts With Yes
It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s is a bold initiative – $1 billion bold – to partner with our community and deliver on our shared vision to transform children’s health for generations to come. With your generous support, we can envision a day when we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. See what your yes can do and donate today.