Environmental Factor

June 2011

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Kids enjoy mostly indoor activities on Take Your Family to Work Day

By Matt Goad
June 2011

little girl with her face painted

One participant showed off her face painting during NIEHS Take Your Family to Work Day. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

little girl show off her crafted party hat

Beaming with pride at her handiwork, another crafted a party hat after lunch. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

The threat of rain canceled the outdoor activities planned for Take Your Family to Work Day May 16, but there was still plenty left to do.

“It's really, really great to have you all here, so have fun,” NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., said in her welcoming remarks to the families in the cafeteria.

Lunchtime activities included a cakewalk and sing-along into a real microphone. Natalie, 7, daughter of Lt. Cmdr. Lindia Engram of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Services and senior nurse manager for NIEHS, was especially enthusiastic about the sing-along. “I like singing because it's all about when you share your expressed feelings,” Natalie said.

For the cakewalk, contestants circled a ring of numbered chairs while music played. The contestant whose chair matched the number that Richard Woychik, Ph.D., deputy director of NIEHS and NTP, pulled out won a cake or other sweet treat.

After lunch, activities for the children included face painting, Wii games, bingo, and making party hats in Rodbell Auditorium. A TV in the corner showed cartoons, but it went unwatched as the children opted for more active entertainment.

A planned intramural softball tournament was postponed until a yet-to-be-determined date, because of the ominous forecast.

Despite a few drops of rain, though, the weather was nice enough for many employees to take their families for walks around the NIEHS lake. “Somehow we arranged to have a beautiful day, even with all the rain we've had lately,” Birnbaum noted.

Shirley Wang, Ph.D., of the Laboratory of Toxicology and Pharmacology, pushed her 9-month-old son Jason in a stroller toward the lake as her mother, Guiying Jin accompanied them. Wang's father, Guohong Wang practiced catch-and-release fishing in the lake nearby. Wang's parents were visiting from China for six months, returning in June. “That's why I'm taking them to see my workplace,” Wang said. “They've never seen such a nice workplace with a lake and everything. It's such a beautiful campus.”

 (Matt Goad is a contract writer with the NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison.)

NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. welcomes the families

Birnbaum was on hand to welcome family members to NIEHS. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Richard Woychik, Ph.D., right, and his wife, Janice

Woychik, right, and his wife, Janice, led the Take Your Family to Work Day cakewalk in the cafeteria. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

eager cakewalk contestant

This eager contestant could hardly wait for the music to restart at the cakewalk. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

winner selects a cake

A young winner selected a cake after her number was called in the cakewalk. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

kids during a sing-along

The kids sing along to “All-Star” by Smashmouth during the sing-along. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

children sitting and resting in chairs

It's easy to understand this young man's fatigue at the end of a busy stay visiting labs and having fun at NIEHS, but some of the kids were still eager for more. (Photo courtesy of Dona McNeill)

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