Vol. 6, Issue 1
February, 2016
In This Issue
From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,

I write this on February 2, 2016-Groundhog Day-and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which means an early spring is predicted! That works for us at Reach Out and Read RI because we've moved the date of our Annual Gala up this year. Please join us for a fun-filled evening of celebration on  Thursday, April 28 at the Providence Art Club. Stay tuned for a Save the Date which will include a link to purchase your tickets. 

Unable to make it to the event but want to support the meaningful work we do to prepare RI's youngest citizens for success in school? It's not too late to support the Reach Out and Read RI Annual Fund Click Here. I encourage you to take a few moments to watch our new video, "Reach Out and Read Rhode Island: A Conversation With Donors"  to learn why your friends and colleagues invest in our organization.

At our April event, we are recognizing two outstanding individuals for their commitment to early literacy, and I couldn't be more pleased to announce it here today. Beth Toolan MD, a pediatrician at Providence Community Health Centers' Capitol Health Center will receive the Prescribe a Book Award. Dr. Toolan is a tireless advocate for the Reach Out and Read program. She consistently promotes reading aloud to her patients and their families, and when we ask her to host a grantor, star in a video, or train a group of new physicians, she never says no. We know that physicians have a lot on their plate, and we have met many who can't see the forest through the trees. That is not Beth Toolan. She understands the importance of her voice in the public discourse around issues that are important to her patients. We feel very grateful for her commitment to the work that we do.

Reach Out and Read RI's Community Hero Award  will be given to Malcolm Chace;  someone who has taught us a lot about the art of giving. Malcolm and his family believe deeply in supporting RI children and their families, and reducing education and health disparities in our state. A seasoned philanthropist, he recognizes that Reach Out and Read RI is at the nexus between them. Thanks to Malcolm and his generosity, we will be debuting the Reach Out and Read RI Leadership Society this fall!

I am full of news about what lies ahead! But I can't sign off without telling you that we were very busy during this holiday season. Reach Out and Read RI elves (namely Kitty Douglas ) made holiday deliveries totaling over 500 books to the Holiday Community Shopping Day at Amos House  and the St. Joseph Health Center Holiday Party. We are always happy to give back in the name of literacy promotion!

Happy Reading (and Happy New Year!),

Jack Reed Celebrates the Passage of ESSA with Reach Out and Read RI

We're ecstatic to report that on December 10, 2015, President Obama  signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. This bill seeks to ensure the provision of a quality education for all children and recognizes the importance of pediatric early literacy promotion. Specifically, this bill authorizes the Reach Out and Read  model in federal education policy for the first time! The inclusion of pediatric early literacy promotion in the Act is fully consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement recommending that pediatricians incorporate book promotion and literacy guidance as an essential element of pediatrics, starting in infancy.

Senator Reed reading to a group of children at Chafee Health Center.

Our own Senator Jack Reed  was a longtime proponent of this bill and was instrumental in getting it passed, vigorously championing the cause of pediatric literacy in the Senate. To celebrate this milestone he joined us for a visit to the Reach Out and Read RI program at Providence Community Health Centers'   Chafee Health Center on December 11th.  He read to a group of children and spoke eloquently about how this bill supports pediatricians in their efforts to encourage families to read aloud to their young children. See his comments in the video below.

Increasingly, research shows that the foundation children need to succeed in school and beyond is built in the early years, from infancy. We are pleased that Reach Out and Read has been recognized as a leader in the field of early learning, and that our model, reaching families with young children through pediatric care, is recognized in this important legislation. 

"Literacy is the foundation for learning. Developing and building these skills begins at home, with parents as the first teachers.....This initiative empowers parents to help their kids, and provides them with free books to get started."

--Senator Jack Reed.
The Book Nook
By RI's First Gentleman Andy Moffit

Life in my family can be hectic these days! Our kids, Tommy and Ceci, are growing up fast and so busy with school and their activities, and my wife, Gina, is working hard to get Rhode Islanders back to work. Coordinating all of our schedules can be tricky but that is why we begin each day by having breakfast and reading together. Starting our day off by enjoying a book or story as a family is a wonderful way to stay engaged with one another.

Reading has always been an important aspect of my life, as both my parents were educators. They always reminded me of its importance while I was growing up. This is a message Reach Out and Read RI promotes as well. They work to give young RI children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together every day.

Every day, I try to show my children how amazing reading can be, just like my parents did for me. For Tommy and Ceci, I have seen how reading not only opens up new worlds for them to explore, but also sharpens their minds and makes them much better communicators.

As a former elementary school teacher myself, I've also seen firsthand how reading can be transformative for all kids. My wife Gina certainly understands the importance of reading, too. You could always find her, as a kid, studying in the Greenville Public Library, and now we enjoy taking trips to our local Rochambeau Community Library with our kids. 

Fostering a passion for reading early in kids' lives, and continuing year-round, is key to helping kids develop into curious and critical thinkers. That's why this past year I became the Summer Reading Ambassador for Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge in Rhode Island. Students can lose up to two months of reading skills unless they engage in active learning or reading over the summer.

I love to read a book every day, and I am committed to fostering a love of reading in my own children as well as all of the children of Rhode Island. We need to ensure that all kids start reading early in their lives, and keep reading even when school is out of session. I hope that you all will join me in this important (and fun!) pursuit.

We had a great time reading together at the State House Holiday Party in December .
A Conversation With Reach Out and Read RI Donors

This video debuted in November as part of our Annual Campaign and we are so pleased to share it with you once again here in this newsletter. We hope you'll take a moment to watch it and hear straight from our donors about why they invest in Reach Out and Read Rhode Island.

Honoring South County Health's Sponsorship of Reach Out and Read at Thundermist South County

On December 15th, Thundermist Health Center and R each Out and Read Rhode Island partnered together to host a reading event for children to recognize South County Health's commitment to sponsor the Reach Out and Read program at Thundermist South County.

Reach Out and Read RI  created the "adopt-a-site" program as a way of engaging organizations and businesses to give back to their communities. "Local businesses take pride in, and want to contribute to, the long term vitality of the communities where their employees live and work," said Susanna Beckwith , Reach Out and Read RI's Executive Director. "I am honored to support Reach Out and Read Rhode Island in its ongoing effort to promote childhood literacy in South County,"  Louis Giancola , President and CEO of South County Hospital said. "South County Hospital is committed to improving the health and education of young Rhode Islanders. And we want to support the community in which our patients live."

Readings were done by Chuck Jones , President & CEO of Thundermist Health Center, and Louis Giancola  --  and each child in attendance was sent home with a brand new book to cherish, from Reach Out and Read RI .

Chuck Jones, President and CEO of Thundermist Health Centers reads to the children as Lou Giancola, President and CEO of South County Health, looks on
ALEX AND ANI Donates Books to Reach Out and Read RI

Throughout the month of October ALEX AND ANI collected new books for Reach Out and Read RI at their Providence, Cranston and Newport retail locations as well as at their Cranston headquarters. As a result of their hard work and generosity, they were able to deliver over 200 books to Olneyville Health Center in Providence in November! 

Thank you to ALEX AND ANI, on behalf of all the kids who receive their medical care at Olneyville Health Center!

Staff from ALEX AND ANI Headquarters pictured above with Reach Out and Read champions Dr. Karen Ng and Dr. Lonnice Thomas
New Mailing Address for Reach Out and Read RI

Please note Reach Out and Read RI's new mailing address effective immediately

Reach Out and Read RI
One Richmond Sq., Suite 158E
Providence, RI 02906

Reach Out and Read RI
One Richmond Square, Ste 158E
Providence, RI 02906
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