Category Archives: Volunteers

  • CARRIE 2

    Thank You Summer Volunteers!

    Summer is the busiest time of year for RORKC because our clinics see so many patients! This means that RORKC needs extra help labeling books, collecting gently-used books, and completing other office tasks.  Thankfully, we have had some great volunteers in our office. Check out some of the people and groups we’ve had stop by:

     

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    Carrie is a local high school student who volunteered around our office during the entire month of June. She helped with office tasks and book labeling. Thanks Carrie!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    These 3 students from Northwest Missouri State-Kansas City Campus created over 300 of our kindergarten book bags! These bags include important information about beginning school & how to register for Kindergarten. Thank you!

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    Primrose Explorer Camp 6-2017 (8)

    Thank you to the  Primrose Adventure Club! These campers volunteered their afternoon to help label  hundreds books for us.

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    UMKC Medical Students held a book drive for RORKC this summer, collecting a ton of new and gently used books for our partner clinics. Thank You!

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    J-Camp 7-2017 (7)

     

    These campers, from the Jewish Community Center J-Camp, volunteered their morning to help label books.  You guys are awesome!

     

     

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    Thank you to all of our summer volunteers!

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    Hooked On Books Challenge 2017 Was a Huge Success!

    IMG_0666This year, the Hooked On Books Challenge collected over 24,000 gently used books from   20 elementary schools on both sides of the state line and Rainy Day Books.   Congratulations to Manchester Park Elementary, from the Olathe School District, for collecting the most books, an average of 12 books per student! These gently used books will be distributed throughout our partner clinics and other literacy agencies.

     

     

     

    On March 25th, 52 volunteers joined us at the Kansas City Star to help sort books. Each book was labeled with a “Hooked On Books” Sticker and sorted into an appropriate reading level category.

     

    Over 11,000 books will be sent to RORKC’s partner clinics for children in the waiting rooms.  The rest were donated to other great Kansas City organizations, such as the Urban Scholastic Center, COR Bookmobile, KCK Public Libraries and more.

     

     

     

     

     

    Cerner Sat 4-2. 5

     

    A special thank you to the 20 Junior League of Kansas City volunteers for their help sorting and labeling books, to The Kansas City Star for storage and printing, and to the 18 Cerner volunteers for helping us deliver these books to the great organizations. Thank you to all that helped us make this year’s Hooked On Books Challenge a success!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    CAPS Students Volunteer Reading Project

    blog post about CAPS

    Last semester, four high school students became volunteer readers at our partner clinics.  Once a week, these students from the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) medical program, spent their morning reading to children and surveying how they felt about reading.  These students are interested in a career in the medical field and spent their semester participating in a service learning project.

     

     

    The four volunteers found that a large majority of the children they read to came from primarily Spanish speaking households.  This presented challenges for the group, but they realized that these children, even if they only knew some English,  enjoyed sharing books with them in the waiting room.

     

     

     

     

    Additionally, the CAPS students created a project to research the effects of reading on children’s well-being.    They presented the children with a mood scale before and after they read to assess if reading had any impact. Overall they found that children’s mood increased after sharing a story in the clinic waiting room.  mood scale CAPS blog post

     

    When asked about their favorite memory from volunteer reading at the clinics, they said, “being able to see all the kids’ smiles and realizing that reading can make a huge difference in their life.” Thank you Northland CAPS volunteers!

     

     

     

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    We Did It! Macy’s Thanks for Sharing Campaign reaches goal

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    A big thanks to all you Macy’s Cardholders who joined Macy’s Thanks For Sharing. As the result of a partnership between Macy’s and Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the Thanks for Sharing campaign raised $15 million for charities like us! This means more books for kids in our clinics. We are so grateful to Macy’s, RIF, and all who supported us in this campaign.

     

    Thanks for Sharing will continue until December 31, so there is still time to enjoy the savings! Visit any Macy’s store to learn more.

     

     

     

  • Thank YouVolunteers

    The Value of Our Volunteers

    Volunteers are vital to Reach Out and Read KC’s success. With an in-office staff of only four, it is no surprise that RORKC relies heavily on volunteer work and donations. Our volunteer force is over 100 people, and growing. Last year, these ROR superstars clocked 4347 hours of work. This is equivalent to $102,415.12 of volunteer labor (according to Independent Sector’s estimate of the value of volunteer time). This is a significant amount for which we could not be more grateful. Still, these numbers only reflect part of the effect our volunteers have on our program and on the community. The work they do is varied in valuable in ways that cannot be measured in dollars and cents. So let’s take a closer look at some of their work:

     

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    Volunteer reader Anne reads a Dr. Seuss book in an ROR clinic waiting room.

    Our regular volunteers include clinic volunteers and office volunteers.

    Volunteer readers assist clinics in creating a literacy-rich waiting room environment by sharing stories with children waiting for their doctor’s appointments. This models behaviors for families, like dialogic reading, and gives the kiddos something fun and positive to do while waiting (and it gives the parents/caretakers a short break!). This work isn’t just nice: It is one of many ways to encourage children to read, and this behavior is absolutely critical to their development.

     

     

    Office volunteer Allie labels books for well-child visits.

    Office volunteers do various tasks as-needed, including stuffing  and stamping envelopes for mailings, putting stickers on books (to color-code them for specific age groups), and database entry.

     

     

    One-time volunteers assist us with office tasks as well, often sorting or labeling books. Groups from various community organizations or corporations visit our office to help us get through the large number of books that come through our office on their way to one of our 52 clinics.

     

    Community volunteers label and sort Hooked on Books donations.

    Event volunteers allow us to hold successful annual fundraisers and book drives. Last March, we had volunteers sort and haul over 24,000 books from our yearly Hooked on Books school book drive and competition. These books are used as waiting-room books in our clinics, and over half of the books were donated to other local agencies and schools. Volunteers also set up and cleaned up after our Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, and directed attendees to the event space.

     

    Committee volunteers share their professional expertise and help us successfully run our program. This involves event planning, serving on our council, and much more.

     

    Because of our volunteers, we are able to fill KC kids’ lives with stories and prepare them for success in school, and eventually in college and careers. These books give them the developmental boost that all babies need as well as fond memories of imaginative stories shared with loved ones. Because of our volunteers, we were able to reach 76,000 children all over the Kansas City area just last year. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for RORKC, contact Jenny.

  • HOB Sorting 27

    Hooked on Books Donations Benefit Local Agencies

    HOB Sorting 40  This year’s Hooked On Books Challenge collected more than 24,000 gently used books to be redistributed to kids who need them throughout our community. 19 area schools participated in the annual book drive during January and February. All the books were sorted and distributed in March.  Almost 10,000 books went to waiting rooms in  Reach Out and Read’s 52 partner clinics.  The rest were distributed to local agencies including W.E.B. Dubois Learning Center, The Urban Scholastic Center, The Upper Room, Literacy Kansas City, and several schools in KCK.

    41 volunteers joined us over two Saturdays in March to sort 250+ boxes of books by age/reading level, repackage them, and load them onto pallets and trucks for distribution. A special thank you to the Junior League of Kansas City for their help with collection and sorting; to the Kansas City Star for printing and storage; and to Vanguard Packaging for providing boxes. Thanks also to Serve KC, Cerner, and our all of our wonderful community volunteers for donating your time and muscle!

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    KC Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Donate Books

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    On February 25, the Greater Kansas City Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi donated 1,901 books to RORKC as part of a 20,000 book grant from First Book. The Pi Phis have divided these books up and donated them to several local organizations. The organizations are listed in this video.

     

     

    The  donation to Reach Out and Read KC includes books for well-child visits, volunteer readers’ book bags, and clinic waiting rooms. Thank you Pi Phi alumnae for your donation and your continued support over the years.

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    Hooked on Books Volunteers Needed

    Hooked On Books collection day is Tuesday, February 23, from 9am-2pm. We are looking for volunteers with strong backs for lifting boxes of books and large vehicles for transporting them (up to 20 copypaper sized boxes at a time.) Volunteers will be assigned to pick up books at schools located throughout greater KC (from DeSoto to the West, Overland Park to the South, Raymore to the East, and Smithville to the North,) and deliver them to the KC Star loading dock in the Crossroads.

    Contact us for details.

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    We’ve got boxes full of books!

     

    We also need help on Saturday, March 12 from 9am-3pm and Saturday, March 19 9am-noon at the KC Star when we label, sort, and pack up our “Hooked on Books” books.

    Click here to sign up for a 3 hour shift.

     

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    Holiday Party Book Drives

    party‘Tis the season for holiday parties! If you are hosting a party and would like to encourage the spirit of giving, consider having a holiday party book drive: Have your guests bring one or more kids’ books to donate to Reach Out and Read KC.

     

     

     

    Thank you to our fantastic supporters who have already donated!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Volunteers Make it Happen

    volunteersIt was a busy and productive month for Reach Out and Read volunteers. In addition to our devoted crew of waiting room readers, we hosted teams from Farmer’s Insurance and Blue Valley North to our offices to sort and label thousands of books we received recently from Scholastic and First Book. The Farmer’s group was here as part of a service project and team building exercise during a 6 week training course. Students from Blue Valley North were part of a group organized by their teacher, Kaci Beichley, to help instill the lesson that it is important to give back to the community. Visit our website or contact Jenny to learn more about ways your group can have fun while helping make a difference at RORKC.

     

  • Turner House Tour 2015

    Turner House Clinic Opens Doors to Junior League Volunteers

    Turner House Tour 2015

    Support for Reach Out and Read from the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri dates all the way back to RORKC’s very beginning in 1997. Throughout the years and continuing today, the League provides both financial and volunteer support for our School Readiness, Kindergarten Book Bag, and Hooked On Books programs, as well as our Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast special event. THANK YOU!

    On Saturday, Saturday, 26, the staff of Turner House Children’s Clinic, a RORKC program site, opened their doors for 12 new Junior League members to illustrate how the League has supported children’s literacy in our community. Dr. Pankey lead the group for a tour of their impressive facility, and RORKC volunteers, Laura Gregory and Lisa Nickel (both Junior League members) joined Mark Mattison, RORKC executive director, to share the history of the League’s legacy of giving and ways the women can become involved as volunteers for Reach Out and Read.

  • Pathfinders Elem Book Drive 9-2015 (compressed)

    Pathfinder Elementary Kids Helping Kids

    Students and teachers at Pathfinder Elementary in Platte County celebrated International Literacy Day on September 8 by dressing as their favorite book characters and started the day with a building-wide D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) time. Coinciding with the event, Student Ambassadors organized a service project and collected 344 new and gently used books for Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Thank you, students, and an extra special thanks to Jamie Davis, Reading Specialist at Pathfinder Elementary, for suggesting RORKC to benefit from your school’s book drive. Your generosity has helped stock our clinic waiting rooms and made some other children very happy.  Pathfinders Elem Book Drive 9-2015 (compressed)

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    Gently Used Books Needed

    Summer is here, which brings lots of kids into our clinics – and they
    all want to take home a book! We are in need of your gently used children’s
    books, and there’s no better time to clean out the closets than during these
    lazy days of summer. Are your kids looking for a project? Have them do a
    neighborhood book drive for ROR-KC. This also makes a great activity for day
    camps, vacation bible schools, and businesses looking for ways to help out the
    community.  Call Janice at 913-588-0295 for more information.

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  • Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

    Volunteer Spotlight

    We would like to put a volunteer spotlight on one of our youngest volunteers, Anuva Kolli (pictured above). She may be little, but she is doing big things to help in her community. This 9-year-old 3rd grader at Horizon Elementary in Desoto, KS, has been honored with the bronze level Presidential Community Service Award for the past two years, completing a total of over 70 hours of volunteer work. Not too shabby for someone who won’t even be able to drive for seven more years.

    Anuva and her family have volunteered for Reach Out and Read Kansas City for many years, and this award reflects her service for us and several other agencies. She makes toys for animals at Wayside Waifs, participates in Girl’s on the Run, organized a book drive and continuously labels books to send to Reach Out and Read partner clinics.

    Anuva says, “ I want everyone to enjoy reading as much as I do.  Every day I read about 5 hours”.  Anuva enjoys mysteries and funny stories. Right now she is starting the Nancy Drew series.

    Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

    Anuva receives the Bronze Presidential Award

  • Executive Director, Mark Mattison

    Giving Thanks, Giving Literacy

    Executive Director, Mark Mattison

    Executive Director, Mark Mattison, in ROR-KC book processing room

    Everyone knows the holidays are a time for thanks giving and for giving back. As I reflect on the past year, I am so very grateful to have been entrusted with this wonderful opportunity to spend every day giving back alongside the mighty staff of five, 46 clinic partners, and over 200 active volunteers of Reach Out and Read Kansas City. Also, I am thankful to you, for your past support and ongoing commitment to helping ensure every child in Kansas City will enter school ready to learn.

     

    Since coming on board as Executive Director in September, I have been challenged, inspired, and ever-so-honored to play a part in the important work we do and the contributions we make to improve the lives of children. Not only do I hear it every day in testimonials from our volunteers and clinic staff, in a recent Parent Survey 98% of our families reported getting a book at their child’s well-child visit, 95% of families reported getting literacy advice, and, as a result, 82% of families reported reading to their children three or more times per week!

     

    Reach Out and Read Kansas City Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during a well-child visit with four month old Katie.

    ROR-KC Medical Director, Sallie Page-Goertz, during well-child visit with four month old Katie

    As you take a moment to give thanks this holiday season, I invite you to share your good fortune by also giving the gift of literacy – truly a gift that keeps on giving. A donation of just $60 to Reach Out and Read Kansas City provides a child with their own starter library, a new book received at each well-child visit from birth to 5 years old.

     

    Your gift will spark the joy of learning in thousands of children throughout Greater Kansas City. Thanks to you and other advocates, in the next twelve months medical providers will meet with parents over 72,000 times to prescribe the importance of sharing books with their children. 30,000 children will take home a brand new age, language, and culturally appropriate book from their well-child pediatric appointment. And volunteers trained and provided by Reach Out and Read Kansas City will model book sharing skills as they read to children in clinic waiting rooms.

     

    Research confirms that parents who receive literacy counseling from their health care providers, according to the Reach Out and Read model, are more likely to read to their young children, read more often, and have more children’s books in their homes. Over 70% of the children who visit Reach Out and Read Kansas City clinics come from low income families, and many of these families are struggling just to cover the basic necessities of food, rent, utilities, and transportation. They wish they could provide books for their children but their hard earned paycheck just doesn’t stretch that far. With your gift, Reach Out and Read Kansas City can help these children start the first day of kindergarten having experienced the joy of owning their own book, ready to read and learn.

     

    Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

    Mark Mattison
    Executive Director

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    Celebrating All of Our Volunteers

    April is Volunteer Appreciation month and I must say that after observing our volunteers in action, they really are the back bone of Reach Out and Read. It is always amazing to see how invested they become in our program no matter what they do, whether that’s reading at the clinics, helping in the office, or serving on one of our event committees. Some of our volunteers have been with us for 10 plus years and they continue to come back to dedicate some of their time to Reach Out and Read Kansas City each and every week.

     

    We are truly grateful to every single one of our volunteers. You all help us make a difference in the community, enhance children’s lives, and share with them one of the most precious gifts of all, the gift of reading. Check out some awesome volunteer stories below.

     

    One time a little girl that came into the clinic was very shy.  She wouldn’t talk but finally got up the courage to come over to the little table where I was sitting with a book.  I started reading Clap Your Hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley.  The book has lots of actions.  I was doing the actions at first and then she started doing them with me.  Before she was called back for her appointment, we were dancing and twirling around the waiting room together, acting out the book we were reading.  We both had a lot of fun!

     

    One little boy was never called in to see the doctor, while other kids who were listening with us were.  I thought that was odd, until I finished the book and the mother asked if we were done and then they left.  They were just there to make an appointment and she stayed through the long book to let her son read with me.

     

    I volunteered one afternoon when a family with six children came into the clinic for their well-child visits.  The kids were all into having books read to them that even though I was only scheduled to read for one hour, I stayed for two until they were all done with their appointments. I just really enjoy seeing the smile on all of the children’s faces when I read to them.

     

    If this made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, check out how YOU can become a volunteer with Reach Out and Read Kansas City today by clicking here. There’s no time like the present to give back to our wonderful community and change lives for the better.

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    The Impact of Our Volunteer Readers

    As the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for Reach Out and Read, I have received the opportunity to do many great things with this organization. One experience that really stands out in my mind was when I was able to work with a local photography student to take pictures of our volunteer readers at different clinics throughout the area. As we made our rounds to each clinic, I explained to the parents why we were there and they graciously allowed us to take photos of their children. While the photographer snapped away, I received my first real opportunity to observe the volunteer reader program in action.

     

    By the time we got to our last clinic, Swope Health Central, the photographer as well as myself were getting a little tired. We experienced all sorts of kids, from older kids who were eager to read out loud, to younger kids who were shy and needed coaxing. We encountered a mix of excitement and nervousness as each volunteer reader took command of the room to read a story to the different children waiting to see the doctor. But we had one more clinic to go, so we put a smile on our faces and walked into the waiting room ready for anything.

     

    What we experienced exceeding all of my expectations, it came in the form of one of the cutest little boys I have ever seen. He probably was around two years old with big, brown eyes and a wide, sweet smile. When we walked in, he was sitting on the volunteer reader’s lap carefully listening to every word she said during her very animated version of the book Bang, Boom, Roar. Halfway through the story, the little boy’s grandma interjected that they needed to run outside to their car to grab something. When she told the little boy to come with her you could just see his face crumble as he began to cry. He reached his tiny hands up to the volunteer reader and held on tight as tears rolled down his face. The grandma looked surprised that he didn’t want to leave the readers side, so she asked if it was okay if she ran out to the car alone. Rocking the little boy, the volunteer reader said that was no problem and once again began reading the story, picking up right where she left off.

     

    Watching all these actions unfold before my very eyes somewhat astounded me. I knew that our volunteer reader program was a great way to get kids to listen to a story, but this was something completely different. The fact that our volunteer made such an impact on this little boy, enough of an impact to where he was visibly upset when he was told he had to leave, proves that something as small as sitting in a clinic waiting room and reading to a child for an hour out of a week, really can make a difference in their life. Because of our volunteer readers, kids are shown the importance of reading and how much fun it can be. This little boy absolutely loved being read to and you could tell by watching him interact with the reader. Each page she read, his smile spread wider and his laugh rang louder. In that moment he was exactly what he was supposed to be, a young boy enjoying a great story.

     

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    From Staff Member to Volunteer – My Volunteer Reader Experience

    “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” -Dr. Seuss-

     

    Walking into Turner House Children’s Clinic I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be a mad house with kids running around the waiting room? Or was it going to be completely empty, not a young soul to be seen? As I made my way inside I let out a sigh of relief.  Sitting in chairs throughout the giant waiting room were four families, and sitting at a small table in the middle of the room were two boys, talking and playing with different toys.

     

    I hurried to collect a bunch of books and the red Reach Out and Read apron, marched up to the table, set the books down, and excitedly exclaimed, “who wants to read a book?” At first the boys looked at me like I was crazy, but as soon as I spread the books out on the table they began to eagerly sift through them. The older boy looked around eight or nine, so I picked up a small chapter book and told him how cool it looked and that he should read it to me. A big smile formed on his face as he scooped up the book, opened the first page and began to read. The younger boy who looked to be about seven made his way over to us, and after a few minutes of listening to the older boy read each page, he announced that he also wanted to read. So there both boys sat, switching off line by line, if the younger one needed help the older boy would quickly assist him by sounding out the word.  I must admit, it was an awesome sight to see. Not only were both boys reading but they were excited about what they were reading and willing to help each other out if they needed it. After a few minutes, their names got called to see the doctor, but before they left I made sure to tell them that they were awesome readers, high fiving them on their way out of the room.

     

    As soon as they left, a little girl who looked to be around five slowly made her way over to me. “Do you want to read a book,” I asked. It took her a minute to come sit down but after encouragement from her mom, she came and sat right next to me. I looked at all the books and asked her if she wanted to read one about Christmas. As soon as I said the word Christmas, a smile spread across her face and she nodded her head. I opened the book and began to read. It wasn’t long before the little girl started asking me all sorts of questions and pointing out the different illustrations. I learned so much about this little girl from her favorite color, red, to her favorite animal, dog. It’s like the minute we started reading the book her shyness evaporated into thin air. It’s crazy that one element on a single page of a book can do that to a child. Once we finished the book, I noticed the little girl’s mom observing us from her chair. I told her how sweet her daughter was and her response was ‘thank you for reading with her.”  To many people a simple thank you might not seem like much, but to me it meant that the mom noticed her daughter come to life through something as simple as reading a book. Hopefully after watching our short time together, she too will read with her.

     

    After I said goodbye to the little girl I noticed there weren’t very many people left in the waiting room. As I looked around, I spotted another adorable little girl who couldn’t be more than three years old. What’s better was she already had a book in her hand. So I called over to her and asked if she wanted to read her book. She quickly got out of her chair and ran over to me. As I looked at the book I noticed that it was a Spanish and English book. I don’t know Spanish so I decided to read just the English parts. After reading one of the pages about colors, I asked her what her favorite color was. She said something back to me, and I realized she said it in Spanish. So I asked her a different question, and again she replied in Spanish. I continued to read the book, not knowing if she understood or not, but boy was she alert. She looked at each page, pointed to different things and said something that I could not understand.  So in return, I smiled, nodded, and pointed to a different picture in the book that she would say something in Spanish about. We went on like this through the entire book. It didn’t even matter that there was a language barrier. This little girl was so into the book, smiling and laughing after she said something and nodding and smiling up at me, peering at me with her big brown eyes as I said something. This just proves that a book can do more than help children grow; it can allow two people from different backgrounds to come together and bond over one thing.

     

    By the time the little girl left, I realized it was already the end of the hour. My first time volunteering exceeded my expectations. I may not have learned any of the kids’ names, or spent more than twenty minutes with them, but I did get to see them smile and enjoy the books we read together. That is totally worth it to me.