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Head Start kids get to Shop with a Doc - Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 12/07/2013

(Standard-Examiner) RIVERDALE -- More than 50 children got to visit with a health care provider on Saturday, but it wasn't for a physical exam.

The kids, all from the Ogden-Weber Head Start program, got to have breakfast and go shopping for Christmas presents with Ogden Clinic personnel during the clinic's second annual Shop with a Doc program.

The clinic started the program as a way to help children become less fearful of physicians, said clinic chief executive officer Paul Schofield. In addition, the clinic wanted a way to give back to the community.

"The idea behind Shop with a Doc is to help children feel more comfortable around doctors and at the same time help children in need," he said. "If children see doctors in a different environment other than a medical office, it offers them a chance to meet a doctor and realize they are nice, caring people that want to help them."

The children, who were screened through Weber County's United Way and Head Start programs, met up with more than 80 Ogden Clinic providers and staff at Target in Riverdale. Each child was given a $125 gift card to spend on their Christmas list. They were also given a holiday stocking filled with goodies, hygiene items and a hat and gloves.

Dr. Mindy Boehm, a pediatrician, said she had such a wonderful time at the event last year, she was eager to participate again.

"I really enjoyed the event and giving back to the community," she said. "Meeting the children and their families and seeing their faces as they selected their gifts was the icing on the cake. The event is truly a remarkable experience."

The children picked out everything from dolls, toy trucks, games, coats, boots and stuffed animals to gifts for their parents and siblings. When they were finished shopping they enjoyed breakfast at the front of the store.

Dr. John Allred, a pediatrician, said he couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday before Christmas than helping children in the local community.

"Many of the children involved are patients of mine or of my Ogden Clinic colleagues and it is a wonderful treat to bring them a little Christmas cheer and help their families," Allred said.

Allred said the event benefits the clinic in several ways. It creates good cheer and happy memories from families involved and allows the community to see the clinic is contributing time and resources to children that need a little something extra in this time of economic belt-tightening.

"But we're not doing this to benefit the Ogden Clinic. One could argue that it costs the Ogden Clinic thousands and thousands of dollars and many man hours," he said. "It does. However, all of the participants in Shop with a Doc feel it is a good thing to do to lift the spirits of children. Our desire is to sincerely help some children have a very happy Christmas by doing what we're doing."

Boehm agreed.

"I would like to say that the event makes us more visible in the community but to be honest, I very selfishly sucked up the good cheer from the event to stoke my own holiday fires," Boehm said.

"That good feeling lasted a long time. When I feel good then I like to pass it on to my patients. It is truly wonderful to help these kids and their families and I think our whole staff benefits from giving back."