Operation Round Up has awarded a $4,125 grant to Witham Health System’s Reach Out and Read program. The grant will be used in conjunction with money raised by the Witham Foundation Gala.
“On behalf of the Boone REMC Operation Round Up board of directors, we are proud to support the Witham Health Services Foundation’s Reach Out and Read program,” said ORU chairman Michael A. Parsley. “This program is in total alignment with our core mission to support nonprofit groups and organizations that serve our communities within the Boone REMC service area.”
Reach Out and Read gives books through pediatric care and encourages families to read aloud together. The program begins in infancy and continues through age five, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities. Pediatric providers throughout Indiana prescribe new books to their youngest patients and encourage families to read together through a “prescription for reading.”
“Reach Out and Read has been amazing for our patients at Witham and our pediatricians,” said Annette Preston, director of Witham Health Services Foundation. “We are extremely excited that we can sustain this program for a longer period of time thanks to Boone REMC.”
According to Preston, each site that implements the program is responsible for completing a biannual progress report that tracks the number of children receiving a book, age, socioeconomic status, and demographics. Each site, along with each medical provider, is trained on how to communicate and distribute the books that are given out at the well-check visit. Reach Out and Read is the only national non-profit organization that works with families at routine check-ups.
“Five pediatricians take part in Reach Out and Read at Witham Health Services,” Preston said.
“Witham Health Services has approximately 3,500 well-check visits for ages 6 months through 5 years old.”
Currently, there are 140 Reach Out and Read Programs, 141,159 children served annually, and 181,309 books distributed annually in Indiana.