Moments that Reach
Moments that Reach
Moments that Reach
June 16, 2022
I continue to experience the power of Reach Out and Read throughout my in-person and virtual travels across the organization. I have learned that our model can work best when it is integrated into systems that support the child and the entire family. As we seek to strengthen our work within the community and in partnership with the community, it helps me to see that value in action. For example, on a recent visit to New York City, I learned how New York City Health+Hospitals/Bellevue is dedicated to initiating, funding, and developing programs that improve the health and well-being of children that visit their hospital for care.
Claudia Aristy, the director and energy behind Bellevue’s ROR program and member of ROR’s National Board of Directors, shared what differentiates their program, “Our integrated approach truly sets us apart. The investment in full-time staff positions dedicated to the ROR program allows us to solicit book donations for older children, supply them to our pediatricians to get them in front of as many children as possible, and maintain a robust pool of volunteers. Beyond that, ROR also has dedicated physical spaces, such as the ROR Reading Corner in the pediatric unit, which ensures parents that this is a normal part of the pediatric experience. We have diverse populations for whom too much intervention causes concern for various reasons—ranging from citizenship status to bad experiences in the past.”
This hospital-wide approach extends into the ROR program. Serving children from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, the program scales for both the volume of patients and the language diversity of its families. Today, they offer books in multiple languages and dialects to their families. They engage them in the variety of resources that exist in the hospital but also in the community. They seek to meet families where they are, all in the name of Reach Out and Read. And all in the name of strengthening the relationship between families and Reach Out and Read and all towards promoting and growing early relational health. Aristy and her team understand that remaining agile, being responsive to their patient population and centering the work within the larger community is part of how Reach Out and Read must play out in a global city like New York.
To meet the needs of the families we serve, we must have an eye on what is happening outside of the clinic. The Children of Bellevue program is a model for how we can prioritize the health of all children, especially those from marginalized and underserved communities. By prioritizing their needs, we are prioritizing the entire community — when children are set up to grow into happy, healthy, and successful adults, we all thrive!
As we move into the next chapter of our work, Reach Out and Read (ROR) strives to serve as an essential public health intervention for all children across the country. Our deep dedication to early relational health and our continued commitment to creating equitable access will ensure that millions of children experience our model in a trusted, caring and equity-centered environment.
In my first 60 days, I have enjoyed meeting many of you and learning more about ROR during my visits in person in New York City, Boston, New Jersey, Georgia, Madison, and virtually in South Carolina, Colorado, Alabama, Washington, and Texas to name a few. Although sites and states vary, the dedication to serving children and families is at the core of our work. For example, I have learned about efforts at federally qualified health centers to ensure equitable access to our model for the children who need it most. In addition, I have seen firsthand the impact of COVID on children and families in our clinics. And it is encouraging to gain a greater understanding of the work in statehouses across the country to increase public investment in ROR and ensure that our government partners are working with us to advance our shared goal of strengthening the earliest development of children in their state.
My background in public health, combined with the proven success of the ROR model, will serve as a strong foundation for our Next Chapter. We will focus our work on strengthening early relational health for all children and families as we solidify ourselves as an essential public health intervention for all children across the country.
I am excited to be on this journey with the amazing team that is ROR and hope you join us in this critical work. More to come as I launch this blog to share the lessons learned and connections made along the way.
May 17, 2022
“I am excited to join Reach Out and Read in the next chapter of the story of this amazing organization. I am looking forward to working with the committed staff, board members, affiliate leaders, volunteers and supporters as we continue to lead our efforts to strengthen healthy child development and build stronger communities across the country. I am passionate about the work Reach Out and Read is doing to create even stronger relationships between clinicians, parents and their children through the power of reading together and literacy. For me, the cornerstone of building healthier communities is through building stronger relationships, and Reach Out and Read is at the core of that work. I look forward to getting started to help lead the path forward with this amazing team.”
“Marty’s experience in public health melded with his service mindset makes him a fantastic choice to lead us in our mission to ensure that families nationally feel confident, capable, and comfortable sharing books with their young children.”– Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Chair, Board of Directors