Valdosta Daily Times

Features

June 30, 2014

Nurse speaks the language of caring

VALDOSTA — Coming to a country where you speak a different language than the population can be a terrifying experience. It can give newcomers an overwhelming sense of alienation and subjects them to a variety of prejudice.

Crystal Green, a nurse at John D. Archbold Hospital in Thomasville, strives to help these people feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. She works at a Statenville migrant camp. Green has always been inspired to help people beyond just her job as a nurse.

“I get paid to be a nurse,” says Green. “When you’re doing this, it’s from the bottom of your heart.”

Many of these workers travel to varying areas depending on the seasonal needs of crops. Sweltering summer temperatures lengthen already long, strenuous work hours.

While the term “migrant” implies travel, some workers have established roots so their children can attend school. Due to excessive traveling, many children fall behind in their academic studies.

“The migrant camp weighed heavy on my heart,” says Green. “But I knew it was just so much and I am only one person.”

Thanks to the help of a select group of other caring individuals, volunteer efforts have increased at the migrant camp. Clothing and canned-good donations are being accepted for the families. Tutoring sessions have been established for a first-grader living in the camp.

“We want to do more than just give them clothes,” says Green. “We want to get involved with them. God blesses us with the ability to help others get what they need.”

Green hopes to develop a relationship with the camp families so they will understand there are people who care about their well being in an area where they may otherwise feel ostracized.

While Green was born in Texas, both of her parents hail from Mexico. Her mother lived in Texas and learned to speak English while her father speaks only Spanish.  Her family instilled a strong work ethic within her.

“I say with pride that I went to college and got my RN-BSN with two parents being from Mexico. It’s not expected when you’re in a culture that’s already looked at as less.”

Green moved to the Valdosta area from Texas in August 2013 after graduating with her degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her husband D’Jon Green’s assignment at Moody Air Force Base brought the couple to South Georgia.

As the only bilingual volunteer at the camp, Green acts as an interpreter. Many camp residents are not English-speaking, and although the kids are enrolled in English-speaking schools, many have an easier time understanding Spanish as it is their first language. Also having Spanish as her first language, Green explains that she understands the plight of the children enduring teasing in school solely based on the way they speak. Green recalls growing up, and although she would be saying an English word, her peers teased her accent.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” This famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt serves as a mission statement for what Green hopes to accomplish through her volunteer work.

“Even if they don’t remember my name, I want them to remember someone came and loved them for who they were.”

If interested in helping in these efforts, Crystal Green can be reached via e-mail at crystalga08.gc@gmail.com.

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