United Way Invests $40K to Continue Youth Literacy Program

CENTERVILLE – A program designed to encourage early literacy on Cape Cod and the Islands will continue thanks to an investment from the United Way.

Reach Out and Read is a program that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care.

The Cape and Islands United Way donated $40,000 to continue the program through the coming year after state funding was cut.

Regional Executive Director for Reach Out and Read Christine Garber is thrilled the programming is able to continue.

“It’s not even just continuing it. It’s really going to be expanded,” Garber said. “Eventually we will bring on more programs.”

The United Way and its new affinity group, Women United, are launching a larger early childhood initiative in the fall with several community partners and the Reach Out and Read program is the first step.

“We’re thrilled that we were able to step in and become involved,” said Barbara Milligan, the president and CEO of Cape and Islands United Way.

The program serves about 5,000 kids in the region through 14 practices.

Head of Pediatrics at Cape Cod Hospital Dr. Sharon Daley says the program is utilized during wellness checkups from 6 months to 5 years of age.

“We give an age appropriate book at the beginning of the appointment and we use that book during the appointment to talk about developmental milestones,” Daley said. “We encourage all families to spend time reading with their kids every day.”

Daley said the program helps literacy and bonding in families.

“Kids and parents really enjoy that time together and some of our families are not in a financial situation to afford to buy books,” Daley said. “So the books that we give them become the start of their child’s library.”

Daley said their waiting rooms also have information on local resources including story times and programs at local libraries.

Participating pediatricians on the Cape and Islands include: Bramblebush Pediatrics in Falmouth, Yarmouth Port, Sandwich and Nantucket; Cape Cod Pediatrics in Forestdale; Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee and Falmouth; Outer Cape Health Services in Wellfleet, Provincetown and Harwich; Plymouth Medical Group in Sandwich; PMG Family Practice of Bourne; Seaside Pediatrics in West Yarmouth; Vineyard Pediatrics in Oak Bluffs; and Wampanoag Health Service in Aquinnah.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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