Tag Archives: volunteer

Anthony Meyer

Celebrating our 20th Anniversary: An Interview with Anthony Meyer

Anthony MeyerAs Anthony Meyer’s three sons grew older, he realized that other people, besides himself and his wife, had an influence on their lives.  He saw that coaches, teachers, and others were positively impacting them and decided that he wanted to volunteer to have a similar influence on others.  This led Anthony Meyer to Reach Out & Read Kansas City.

 

Because he worked near Children’s Mercy Hospital, he reached out to them to see how he could be involved.  They recommended that he become a volunteer reader in their Pediatric Care Clinic as part of the Reach Out and Read KC program.  He began reading to kids during his lunch hour and still does weekly.  Meyer has read for almost 14 years and served on our Community Council for 7 years.   His dedication and passion are what help make our program succeed.

 

When I joined him for lunch, he brought along The Cat in the Hat.  He began by stating that he loved The Cat in the Hat because it is a fun and engaging story.  Then he demonstrated his favorite part were Thing One and Thing Two enter and the cat asks, “Would you like to shake hands with Thing One & Thing Two?”  Meyer held out his hand to shake mine, as he does with the kids he reads to in the clinic.

 

Meyer is a master of making stories come alive in the waiting room.   Recently, he recalls reading one of his favorites, The Snow Day, to two boys, Amot and Avat.  He replaced “Peter”, the main character’s name, with their own.  By doing this, he personalized the story for them and they were engaged the entire time.  As they left the clinic, Meyer heard them exclaim to their parent, “there he is, the man who read to us!”.

 

By modeling interactive and engaging reading practices for parents, he hopes that they emulate them at home.  While most families do enjoy his reading (he has even had parents take pictures of him reading to their child) he does encounter parents who are not interested in watching.  While this can be hard, he says that the families that do appreciate it outnumber those who don’t and it reminds him how important it is to read with kids in the clinics.

 

Meyer also notes that reading in the clinics not only benefits the kids but himself as well.  He talks about the numerous times he’s been reading to a child, begins to laugh, and can’t stop.  “I enjoy reading as much as the kids enjoy being read to,” says Meyer.  It’s a great way to spend his lunch hour and part of the reason he’s been a volunteer reader for so long, he is able to help show the importance of reading while having fun.  He says, “It helps the parents, helps the child and helps me too”.

 

Thank you, Anthony, for being an extraordinary volunteer and supporter of RORKC!

 

 

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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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Parent Surveys Confirm Program Success

Results from our annual survey to parents have been tallied and we have good news to report! Of the 1085 families reporting between late August and late October, 98% of families said they received a book at their child’s well-child visit,  95% remember receiving literacy advice from their medical provider, and 82% say that they read to their children three or more times per week! Purchasing, delivery, and inventory statistics tell us how many books we provide to children by way of our clinic partners, but this self-reporting from parents is true confirmation that we are fulfilling our mission of preparing Kansas City’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

 
We would like to take this opportunity to show our gratitude for the clinics that are excelling in our program. At the following sites 100% of families surveyed reported reading to their children three or more times a week:

 

Brookside Family Medical Group Leavenworth County Health Department
Platte County Health Department Southwest Boulevard Family Care
Swope Central

 

At the following sites, 100% of families reported receiving early literacy advice from their medical providers:

 

Argentine Family Care Brookside Family Medical Group Grain Valley Family Medical Care
Heartland Primary Care Hope Family Care Jackson County Health Department
KU Silver City Clinic Swope Independence Leavenworth County Health Department
Platte County Health Department Samuel Rodgers Health Center Samuel Rodgers Northland Health Center
Swope West TMC – Center for Family Health Turner House Children’s Clinic

 

We want to be sure all of our families receive literacy advice and a book. This survey shows that we are doing well—almost all of our families are getting advice and books and this is translating into a high percentage of families sharing books with their children three or more times per week. Thank you to all our supporters and especially to our providers for making early literacy a critical aspect of your pediatric practice!

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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.