The Reach Out and Read Virginia team worked with hospital officials so books and early literacy instruction will now be a part of the well-child visit at Children’s Hospital Richmond at VCU’s outpatient Children’s Pavilion.
Reach Out and Read opens approximately 225 new sites per year across the United States, but the last few months have been challenging, to say the least. Yet despite isolation, physical distancing, and other obstacles, communities continue to unite in the face of adversity. Our commitment to families and young children remains strong, and through a collaborative effort to get books into the hands of children who need them, new clinics are still opening.
The Reach Out and Read Virginia team, led by Dr. Bergen Nelson, a pediatrician and researcher who has committed her career to promoting the healthy development of children, worked with hospital officials to open a new site.
Richmond’s Mayor Levar Stoney led the virtual ribbon-cutting event and he has made the largest investment in education in a quarter-century. However, his efforts on funding the future and education do not stop there. “Reach Out and Read has had a strong and welcome presence here in the City of Richmond before today… But now with this virtual ribbon cutting for the Children’s Hospital at VCU program, the presence will be formalized and expanded … the mission of Reach Out and Read is near and dear to my heart,” said Mayor Stoney.
His dedication to building an inclusive, competitive, and equitable city for everyone aligns with Reach Out and Read’s commitment to serving vulnerable populations. “Generations of families like mine, led by people like my grandma who want to do everything in their power to show their children opportunity, will benefit from Reach Out and Read,” said Mayor Stoney. “This multi-generational approach is the best way to facilitate lasting outcomes, to empower caregivers to create a generation of strong readers, and curious learners. We will beat systemic poverty by providing systemic support. We will beat generational poverty by providing the support that spans generations.”
Closing out the ceremony, Dr. Nelson’s final thoughts invoked the mission and important work ahead for the clinic. “We at Reach Out and Read are dedicated to helping give children the best start in life. All children, no matter their background or means, deserve a foundation for success, and with new sites like the Children’s Hospital of Richmond our pediatricians can serve all children, including low-income families, to ensure they have access to the opportunities created by promoting early literacy.”
“With new sites like the Children’s Hospital of Richmond our pediatricians can serve all children, including low-income families, to ensure they have access to the opportunities created by promoting early literacy,” said Dr. Nelson
Opening a clinic during a pandemic is no small feat we and we would like to extend a special thank you to Reach Out and Read Medical Director, Dr. Bergen Nelson; Reach Out and Read Regional Director of the Carolinas, Virginia, and DC, Callee Boulware; CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Elias NeuJahr; Associate Vice President of Operations, Children’s Hospital of Richmond, Jeniece Roane; special guest Mayor Levar Stony; and the entire ROR team for their commitment to the children and families of Richmond Virginia.
To watch the virtual ribbon cutting ceremony and site orientation click here.
To learn more about the work at ROR Virginia click here.