September 05, 2023 | Downers Grove, IL
Midwestern University welcomed 107 children to its 21st annual MWU Kids Day, held at the Downers Grove Campus. The event encourages Midwestern University employees to bring the children in their lives to campus. As part of the event, the children experienced a few informative sessions, learned more about Midwestern University, and had the afternoon to spend time with their parent, relative, or guardian at their workplace to glimpse their professional lives. The children also had the opportunity to meet the colleagues of the adults in their lives and tour the campus.
Lynn Urbán, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director of Human Resources - Downers Grove, welcomed Midwestern University employees and the children, and said she hoped they would enjoy the day and relax. “It can be rewarding to show children where we spend so many hours. We are excited to spend the day with kids,” she said. This year’s theme was “MWU Working Better Together,” and children were encouraged to think about the values of team spirit and working together. Volunteers added the theme into their activities and presentations for the children.
Dr. Rangarathnam spoke to the children about speech and voice.
The children learned about the parts of the body responsible for speech, and that the brain controls all aspects of the connections. They learned about breathing via the lungs and the nose, voice function through the vocal cords and larynx, and the purpose of the uvula in the back of the throat. They were taught the importance of taking care of their voices and conserving them, and that shouting could damage the voice box. If their voice becomes tired, then they should take a break from speaking for about 30 minutes and were told that professionals who use their voice often, such as singers, may receive therapy. Speech impediments were explained to the children, and that these impediments do not prevent anyone from success. They were informed that President Joe Biden has a stutter. “Anyone with a speech problem can do well in life. They just need to get help,” said Anand Rangarathnam, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor, Speech-Language Pathology.
The children tossed balls simulating neuron activity.
The children were also taught how messages get sent through the brain and participated in an activity where they were assigned to be different parts of the neuron and simulate passing messages with plastic balls. The children were shown an image of a healthy neuron and a neuron of a person with multiple sclerosis, where parts of the neuron are damaged. They were given an explanation about how the damage affects message transmission, and the signal does not reach the intended target. In addition, a session about safety and security reminded the children not to talk to strangers or accept candy from them and provided other tips on how to stay safe.
Midwestern University security and a representative of the Downers Grove Police talked to the children about safety.
The sessions ended on a high note with a juggling show by Professional Juggler, Andy Head. He delighted the audience with a variety of tricks, including juggling on a unicycle, and included audience members in a few acts.
MWU Kids Day is a chance for Midwestern University employees to spend some quality time with the children in their lives, and for children to have an opportunity to see and experience some aspects of the University. This event is a part of the supportive, nurturing work environment fostered by Midwestern University. The Glendale Campus also holds an MWU Kids Day event in the fall.