After spending time in the hospital due to a premature birth, Vancouver Island resident Amber Prat is set on giving back to the community.
Three years ago, Amber’s eldest son was born 11 weeks prematurely, and she had to stay with her baby at a neonatal intensive care unit for 69 days.
It was around that time that she found out about the Little Warriors Library Program.
“The idea about it is that it encourages parents to read to their children while they’re in the NICU, because most babies born to term have the conversations they hear in the belly from the people around them,” says Prat.
“However, babies born prematurely are spending a lot of time in an area that isn’t very noisy, so it’s a lot of beeping sounds and not a lot of conversation, and it’s been proven that premature babies really struggle with language skills as they get older.”
After leaving the unit with her son, Prat wanted to give back to the unit for having saved her son’s life. She started running a book drive to help support the program by collecting books to donate.
For her, the goal of this book drive is to give those babies a chance.
“When they get into the school system and start their education, I’m giving them a bit of a head start so it’s not spending all of this time in the incubator hearing beeping, but getting the chance to hear their parents talk to them,” says Prat.
“And I find with these books it allows parents who are there a chance to bond with them, so future parents who might be in this situation, it could be something they are looking forward to, as they would be aware of this program.”
Prat wants to collect 365 books in this year’s drive, one for each day of the year, but the donated books must be brand new.
The drive officially started on June 1, and it is set to run until July.