Community Chest Spotlight: Reach Out and Read

The 2021-22 Sewanee Community Chest Fund Drive is underway. Sponsored by the Sewanee Civic Association, the Sewanee Community Chest raises money yearly for local charitable organizations serving the area. This year’s goal of $102,291 will help 20 organizations that have requested basic needs funding for quality of life, community aid, children’s programs, and those who are beyond Sewanee but still serve our entire community.
This week, we shine the spotlight on Reach Out and Read.
Founded in 1989, Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read together. Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine is one of more than 6,100 medical offices across the country that delivers ROR’s program.
Starting at the 6-month well-child checkup and continuing at each checkup through age five, Drs. Mary Heath and Amy Evans, and Eric Bornemann, PNP, give children a new book to take home and keep. At the same time, these providers speak with caregivers about the importance of making shared reading part of a daily family routine.
ROR is sometimes confused with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, as the two organizations have similar missions. Unlike Imagination Library, ROR collaborates with medical providers to offer both books and early literacy guidance during checkups, leveraging the doctor-caregiver relationship to “prescribe” reading aloud. As part of the ROR site enrollment process, providers at Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine took an accredited online course in early literacy promotion. ROR also lets families choose between several books at each checkup, ensuring that children are matched with books that they do not already have at home. While participating in ROR, Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine also encourages families to register for Imagination Library—the more books a child has at home, the better.
ROR is requesting a grant of $2,541 to help with project-based support for the children funding area. Per-book cost is approximately $2.75. The Sewanee Community Chest’s grant would enable the purchase of about 924 books. ROR partners with Scholastic, Inc., and other publishers to offer popular book titles, such as “Goodnight Moon” and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” at deeply discounted prices.
Since 1908, the goal of the Sewanee Community Chest has been to help citizens by funding the community. With Community Chest donations, local organizations provide for basic needs such as books, food, animal care, housing, scholarships, recreational spaces, elder care, children’s educational needs and more. The Sewanee Community Chest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and donations are tax-deductible. Send your donation to Sewanee Community Chest, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375.

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