Little did Mario Morelos, regional advocacy injury prevention coordinator, know that the Heimlich maneuver he learned in a new parent class at Children’s, would be used 20 years later while he was on the job, as a Children’s employee.
Mario and the external affairs team were distributing pack n’ plays at a farmer’s market, when a child began choking on a snack. After the mom yelled for help, Mario jumped to action and the child quickly returned to normal.
Although this particular situation was out of the norm for Mario, helping kids in our community is his passion and day-to-day routine. Before joining Akron Children’s in 2022, he served as a Spanish interpreter at Akron Public Schools. It was during a North High School food drive that he met the Children’s external affairs team, who later recruited him to the hospital.
“I immediately knew Mario would be a good fit for Akron Children’s and a good fit for our team,” said Bernett Williams, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “His thoughtful, kind and steady demeanor is complemented by his strong work ethic.”
In his role as an injury prevention coordinator, Mario collaborates with local agencies, social services and the health department to provide programs that benefit children and families and advance Akron Children’s mission of advocacy.
Whether he is instructing a family on how to properly install a car seat as a certified child passenger safety technician, or teaching teenagers the dangers of texting while driving through the Safe Mobility Program, Mario brings life experience and compassion to every message.
“I try to be relatable as a dad who has made mistakes, because you can present all the information and facts, but it is more engaging to speak from the heart,” Mario said.
Mario also continues to use his language access skills to help families, occasionally giving the educational presentations or helping schedule appointments in Spanish.
“The more I collaborate with others who are compassionate and dedicated to helping families, the more inspired I feel to make a difference and be a game changer for our department and community,” Mario said.