“I bless them, because I’ve been blessed.”

“I’m not a nurse by any means, but some stuff, being a mom, you can tell. This little boy was kind of panting. I said, ‘Dr. Robbins, I don’t think this little boy is breathing right.’ And she immediately said, ‘He’s not.’”

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“I’m the first smile you’re gonna see when you come into our clinic.”

While she may not be a medical professional, Beata Pickens’ dedication to the mothers and children she sees every day has saved at least one life. She received UK HealthCare’s Good Catch Award for identifying that a toddler wasn’t breathing right and insisting that he be seen by clinic physicians. He was admitted to the Pediatric ICU for bacterial pneumonia with other critical complications, but made a full recovery.

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“We are a family. We work together as a family. I have your back, you have mine.”

“Some weeks passed and they showed back up for the follow-up, and she was standing in my window crying: ‘Thank you so much, you saved my baby’s life.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, no, I was just doing my job!’ But if I can save somebody, whether it be that or with a smile or with a hug, it makes the day all worthwhile.”

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Beata has worked at the Family Care Center for 16 of its nearly 30 years in Lexington.

Beata’s is the first smile you see when you walk into the medical clinic at the Family Care Center. Her joy is palpable, even from a distance. It’s clear that, even after 16 years behind the check-in window, she adores her job.

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“I love being a parent. I love being a grandparent. I love working with children. That's where it all comes from.”

“I always make sure to give them a smile every time, because I might be the only one to give them a smile that day. You never know. I want to make them feel loved and wanted and happy,  because you never know what their day is about.”

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Beata is close with her coworkers, several of whom have also been at the Family Care Center for more than a decade.

The Family Care Center, which includes a school, a daycare and a medical clinic and is jointly administered by UK HealthCare and the city of Lexington, primarily serves young mothers and their children. Being able to work with that patient population is one reason why Beata is so devoted. It’s a background that mirrors her own.

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The Family Care Center serves children and parents from birth through age 19. “My grandchildren come here,” Beata said.

“I tell my story a lot: ‘Hey, I come from a single parent household, but my kids don’t. You can change. You can change your life.’ I let them know it is possible. That’s mainly what I tell them: ‘You can do it.’”

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“I can't say there's one person in here that we don't know each other's story. That makes for a great environment.”

“I come from a loving household. I received hugs and kisses, and was told how much I was loved. I knew how that felt. I wanted to make somewhat of a difference. Those children that were coming to my window with their parent—you never know. A smile or a wink might open up their day.”

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“Being able to love and give love, that's what I received. I want someone to feel like I feel.”

See how Beata and her team serve children and parents at the UK Family Care Center.