Tag Archives: volunteers

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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CAPS Students Volunteer Reading Project

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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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Reach Out & Read KC’S 2016: Year in Review

As 2016 draws to a close, we are looking back at some of our favorite memories and awesome volunteers.  Because of all our supporters, Reach out and Read KC was able to accomplish new milestones and reach even more families in 2016.

 

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Our Hooked On Books book drive collected over 24,000 books from 20 elementary schools in 2016.  Here are just a few of our dedicated volunteers helping us sort books!

 

 

 

 

 

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From February 29th through March 4th Reach Out & Read KC celebrated Dr. Seuss week! To honor the late Dr. Seuss, many local celebrities read to children in our clinic waiting rooms! Read more about this fun celebration. (from left to right: Karli Ritter & Mark Alford from Fox4 KC, and Ann Goodrich, a volunteer for RORKC)

 

 

 

 

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On March 4, we held our annual Green Eggs & Ham breakfast.  Here we have Bryan Busby and Neville Miller from KMBC -TV reading to some of our youngest breakfast guests.  This year, because we have something extra special to celebrate in 2017, we are replacing our Green Eggs and Ham event with our 20th Birthday Breakfast! View more information about our 20th Birthday Breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our annual Books on Tap fundraiser took place on October 19th at the 1900 Building.  It was a record- setting success raising over $9,000 for Reach Out and Read KC! This translates into providing over 1,800 books and literacy advice to children in KC.   For more pictures from this fun event, look through our photo album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On December 2nd, 2016, Reach Out and Read Kansas City reached a new milestone for our program.  We delivered our 1 millionth book during this four month old’s well-child visit at the University of Kansas Medical Center Pediatric Clinic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reach Out and Read KC YIRsquarerecently delivered our annual report for the fiscal year 2015-2016.  We had a record breaking year with RORKC providing 83,763 books to children at over 51 clinics.   View the full report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all of our volunteers who made this year monumental for Reach Out & Read KC! Below are only a few of the many who volunteered their time to help our organization succeed.

 

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Want to help Reach Out & Read KC continue to provide books and a foundation for success to over 29,000 children in 2017? Please consider giving a gift this holiday season.

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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.

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‘Books On Tap’ Record Breaking Success

You did it! Because of amazing volunteers and supporters like you, a new fundraising record was set for our ‘Books On Tap’ special event (formerly known as Books and Brews.) Through generous sponsorships, donated event space from the Kansas City Public Library, and amazing food, drinks, and raffle items contributed by dozens of local businesses – not to mention ticket sales to over 200 attendees – you came together and raised over $7,600 to support Reach Out and Read KC. That means over 1500 new books can be purchased and delivered through this truly volunteer led event. We thank Tingle Flooring, Henderson Engineers, and TranSystems for sponsoring the event, but most of all we give high-fives, handshakes, and hugs to committee co-chairs Liz Megli and Kayla Boal and to the entire outstanding committee!

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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.

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Welcome Lucia

Join us in welcoming Lucia Jones, the newest member to the

Reach Out and Read Community Council!

Lucia is a nurse and Program Manager at the Community
Health Council of Wyandotte County. Before joining the Council, she shared the
following information about herself and why she feels so strongly about the
value and importance of Reach Out and Read:

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(Growing up in Uruguay,)
I come from a family where books and reading are part of the norm. In my family
books are birthday and Christmas presents. They are reason for laughs and
arguments. I have many memories of my mother reading her books until late into
the night, and my grandma reading a passage out loud for us to enjoy. I read my
first novel when I was 11 years old, my mom gave it to me and it had been given to her by my grandpa. 12 years ago, I became a mother and faced the challenges of being a good and productive parent. Going to school, working, and taking
care of my kids was difficult, but I knew how important it was for my kids to
have a relationship with books and reading.

 

I believe we are the result of our environment, and for many the environment does not support the formation of reading habits that will have a lifelong impact. For me, reading is learning and loving. It is spending time with your child, it is imagining and dreaming. Reading means learning and improving, and our community needs all of that. I believe the Reach Out and Read KC program is very important because it brings families closer to books and (good) reading habits, and because it brings families together. I hope my experience, relationships, and understanding of the the KCK community will bring a positive impact to the council and program.

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

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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.