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North Portland Nurse Practitioner Community Health Center
5311 N. Vancouver Ave.
Portland, OR 97217
Mariah Taylor is a nurse who was struggling to make ends meet when she figured out how to make her dream come true. She is giving the gift of health and well-being to thousands of children in need.
Mariah is from a family of 25 children, and knew from taking care of her younger siblings that she wanted to be a nurse. Even though she was told by a teacher that she couldn't become a nurse because she was black and intellectually inferior, she soared to the top of the nursing profession, earning a master's and an advanced degree as a nurse practitioner. Mariah still had a problem finding a job, so she started a pediatric clinic for the poor and uninsured, where she puts in as many as 20 hours a day. Mariah says, "I come from the old school that believes every that every child is your child, and truly every child is mine."
As a divorced mom who once relied on food stamps and welfare, Mariah knows first hand the desperation of those she serves; as a result, she treats the disease of poverty. At the clinic, she gives out free food and clothing to those in need. "If I saw a need and ignored that need, I would be less than who I am and we would not be what we are as a clinic," Mariah says. Also, as an ounce of prevention, every child leaves the clinic with toothbrushes and books.
Mariah sends her young patients home with books because she believes "Education is liberation." Scholastic Books heard that Mariah needed more books for her patients and is donating 3,000 children's books!
"I know that I'm making a difference because of the difference these children are making in my life... It is really important to reach back and pull someone else forward - to dream so they can dream," says Mariah.
Mariah was nominated for this award by her daughter, who says, "What Mariah has accomplished in the name of humanity cannot be put into words. She truly lives by her motto, "God helps those who help others."
Helping Uninsured Children
With Oprah's Angel Network Use Your Life Award, North Portland Nurse Practitioner Community Health Center was able to provide uninsured children with pediatric health care and medicine. They have also expanded their clinic to house new staff.