Check out the website of any library or book store and you will see listings for book clubs on their calendars. There are 28 Meet Up book Clubs in the Kansas City area. Most females you encounter are likely to be a member of a monthly in-home book club. And every library, usually in partnership with local businesses that provide valuable incentive prizes, host summer reading programs for elementary and middle school students.
However, the love of reading does not begin as an adult, or even in grade school. It must be cultivated from birth, and some would argue, while a baby is still in the womb. But not every child has an opportunity to engage with adults who read; or who even have access to appropriate books.
And so, Reach Out and Read Kansas City was established in 1997, with an emphasis on serving the community’s children who face the greatest need. Since then, the special collaboration between Children’s Mercy Hospital and KU Pediatrics at KU Medical Center has grown to include 47 clinics in the Kansas City metro.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City strives to prepare kids to be academically successful in a rather unique manner: partnering with pediatricians to “prescribe” books, along with necessary medication(s), to encourage families to develop the healthy habit of reading together.
Doctors and nurses are trained to give advice to parents about appropriate books and reading activities to support healthy child development. Every child takes home a new book at each check-up between birth and five years of age, at no cost to the family. And Reach Out and Read Kansas City volunteers read to children in clinic waiting rooms, educating families how to share written word.
Volunteers are, of course, the proverbial heart and soul of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Readers are needed most Mondays through Fridays between 9am and 3pm. Some clinics welcome volunteer readers on Saturdays from 9am to 11am.
Volunteers also complete important tasks such as community awareness campaigns, coordinating book drives, planning fundraising events, preparing books for delivery, and of course, office support.
Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age (or 10 years old if volunteering with a parent).
Prospective volunteers should click here to download the volunteer application (pdf).
Reach Out and Read Kansas City accepts donated books through their distribution center located at KU Pediatrics at the KU Medical Center (3901 Rainbow Boulevard in Kansas City, KS).
- New books are preferred. Although books for older children are needed, the greatest demand is for books catering to children from birth to five years of age. Board books, as well as “touch and feel” books, are fantastic donations. And because of the population of patients served at many Reach Out and Read Kansas City health clinics, bilingual books are also in high demand.
- A list of favorite books that have been carefully selected to meet specific developmental needs of children served by Reach Out and Read Kansas City is available for book donors.
- Used books should have been exposed only to gentle wear, meaning that the covers and pages are intact and clean. These books will be given to the older siblings of Reach Out and Read Kansas City participants and will also be used to stock the bookshelves in the clinic waiting rooms.
- Books about sensitive issues, such as religion, divorce, abuse, or death are certainly important in helping children to understand life topics, but they are not accepted by the Reach Out and Read Kansas City program.
To ask specific questions, for additional information about donating books to Reach Out and Read Kansas City, or to arrange a time to drop off book donations, contact the our book coordinator via email or by phone at (913) 588 0295.
REUSABLE BAG REFUND DONATIONS AT WHOLE FOODS
Between January 17 and April 10, customers of Whole Foods (6621 West 119th Street, Overland Park) have the option of donating their reusable bag refunds to Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Each bag is worth $.10 and will be applied to the agency’s book fund. Volunteers will be at the store from 10am to 2pm on March 19 and April 9 to promote Reach Out and Read Kansas City and to encourage customers donate their reusable bag refunds.
HOW MONETARY DONATIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- $25 gives the first board book to five babies.
- $60 provides a complete library of twelve books for a child from birth to five years of age.
- $180 makes books available for a family with three children.
- $1000 supplies enough books for an entire clinic for one full year.
- $2500 covers the cost of setting up the Reach Out and Read Kansas City program at a new clinic site, allowing the gift of reading to be shared with another pediatric community.
Click here to make a secure online donation to Reach Out and Read Kansas City.
UPCOMING FUNDRAISING EVENT
5th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast benefiting Reach Out and Read Kansas City
Friday, March 4 from 7:30am to 9am at the Marriott Downtown (200 West 12th Street in KCMO)
- Honorary Hosts – Joan & Bert Berkley, Maureen & Bill Berkley, and Janet & Dan Dubrava of Tension Envelope Corporation
- Keynote Speaker – Bernard Franklin, Phd; Community Education Leader
- Guest Readers – Bryan Busby (KMBC) and Christa Dubill (KSHB)
Click here to purchase your ticket(s).
Reach Out and Read Kansas City on Facebook
*To contact Steph about upcoming Kansas City volunteer opportunities you would like to see covered by glowbass.com, email [email protected] or find her via Facebook or Twitter.
(Steph is also the Kansas City College Admissions Examiner. Click the link to view articles on that topic.)