Has Spring arrived yet? Maybe. Are we seeing lots of kids for well child visits? Definitely. Are we seeing kids that went missing during the pandemic surges? Yes, we still are seeing kids who missed one or more well child visits, in part due to their fear to come to our clinics! Do great books provided by Reach Out and Read Kansas City continue to bring joy to kids, families and providers? You bet!
This week my most joyful moment was seeing five-year-old Yoan. Some of you might remember that he is the child who received ROR-KC’s One Millionth Book in 2017. Click here to see the video. Now, we are celebrating ROR-KC’s 25th anniversary, and Yoan is so lucky to get yet another brand-new book to share with his older siblings and parents. We were sharing the book The Lion and the Mouse, a story of an unexpected friendship. We had a few minutes practicing “dialogic reading” – where the reader (me) asks the child (Yoan), “Do you think a mouse is usually a friend with a lion?” and “What do they think might happen next?” This brief interaction let me know that Yoan was comfortable with books, had age-appropriate conversation skills, and that his mother was so proud of how he was doing in kindergarten.
Then, I noticed the plastic sleeve containing Yoan’s immunization record. There was the picture of that One Millionth Book moment with baby Yoan that Mom has kept. Clinic staff members later told me she had showed the picture to all of them! A reminder that in the moment, we don’t always know the impact that the gift of a book and our advice can have on a child and family, but clearly for this child and family, the impact was powerful. So, to all of our supporters and donors – thank you for allowing hundreds of providers to bring moments of both joy and learning to thousands of children and their families every day, with the gift of a new, age-appropriate, culturally diverse book, and a prescription to read.