Thanks to an $80,000 grant from the Junior League of Waco, the Reach Out & Read program will be brought back into the Waco community and will initially be housed at two Family Health Center (FHC) clinics–South 18th St. Community Clinic and MacArthur Pediatric.
Reach Out & Read incorporates early literacy into pediatric practice, equipping parents with tools and knowledge to ensure that their children are prepared to learn when they start school. At each well-child visit, the doctor or nurse will give the parent/guardian of the child a book and explain the importance of reading. The books are culturally sensitive and are bilingual. Family Health Center plans to expand the program to all of their clinics.
In both the Prosper Waco Women’s Health and School Readiness Work Groups, the Reach Out & Read program was discussed. When Junior League of Waco came to Prosper Waco staff to talk about strategically investing their 80th anniversary gift in the community, it was a natural fit to move forward with funding the literacy program due to the League’s 10-year commitment to ages 0-3 in the Waco community.
Follow-Up Story: On Sept. 26, the Junior League of Waco presented the $80,000 check to Dr. Roland Goertz and other Family Health Center staff at the South 18th St. Community Clinic, one of the initial clinics to house the literacy program. “I can’t personally think of a better place to have this kick off than the South 18th Street clinic,” Goertz said. “It’s just like fulfilling sort of a plan or program, (to) have Reach Out and Read be a focus of all that has happened on this side of town and our efforts to the community to try and improve the livelihoods of children as they grow older and learn to read and become educated to pursue their life’s goal,” Goertz said.