National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually Sept. 15-Oct. 15. It’s a time to honor and celebrate the culture, heritage and contributions of Hispanic Americans, whose ancestry originates in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
To recognize the month, Army Reddington, an ophthalmology technician at Akron Children’s Hospital who immigrated to the United States from Colombia, shares her experience and connection to Hispanic culture.
What is your role at Akron Children’s and how long have you been with the hospital?
I have worked in the Ophthalmology/Vision Center as an ophthalmology technician for the past 3 and a half years.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Akron Children’s?
Kids deserve the best, and at Akron Children’s, that is our priority. The Hispanic community is growing fast, and we see more Latin families coming to our hospital for different services. Language can be a barrier, but we make patients and families feel at home with help from our amazing interpreters.
As a Hispanic American, what does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
National Hispanic Heritage Month means paying tribute to and recognizing the people who sacrificed and came to the U.S. for better opportunities. They have helped to grow our country into what it is today.
How do you recognize, honor and celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
Celebrating Hispanic heritage is the perfect time to teach others about our culture, food and customs. I am proud that I can teach my son about it, and he can continue passing that knowledge on to future generations. We celebrate by eating Latin food, watching movies in Spanish and reading books in Spanish.
As we strive to deliver culturally competent care and create an inclusive environment for our patients and families, what would you like others to know?
I came from Colombia 11 years ago, speaking zero English, and I never imagined that I could work in a hospital like Akron Children’s. Akron Children’s was my first job here in the United States, after 8 years of being a stay-at-home mom, and this job gave me the opportunity to work with such great doctors and technicians. The staff here at Akron Children’s helped me to feel welcome, even though I am still learning to speak and write English like a native English speaker. They never made me feel unwelcome or out of place, and they continue to help me learn to better myself. For all the immigrants and people who speak English as a second language, who have come here looking for a better life and more opportunities, never stop pursuing your dreams.