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Did you know that reading aloud to children is the single most important thing a parent can do to prepare their child for school and life-long success? Early childhood, especially infancy, offers a critical window for learning with rapid brain development that doesn’t occur at any other time. The number of words a child has heard by age 5 predicts school success. Yet fewer than half of young children in the US are read to daily!
Born to Read, our Club’s signature project, aims to get this message to parents at the earliest possible time so that they can take action as soon as their babies are born. Working in partnership with Munson Hospital’s Healthy Futures, Great Start, the Traverse Area District Library, and Read Aloud 15 Minutes, Born to Read has delivered “Welcome Baby kits” with a free book to 2,000 new parents. To encourage use of local libraries and participation in special story times for parents and infants, the kit also includes a certificate for parents to pick up a free tote bag and second book at the Library.
While we have made significant progress since starting Born to Read in 2011, Twilight Rotary and our partners want to make sure our message reaches even more new parents in the 5-county region. In April, we finalized a 2-year strategic plan (July 2014-June 2016) that adds three new avenues for encouraging parents to read to their babies. In addition to delivering Welcome Baby kits and promoting library visits, we intend to:
- Introduce Born to Read and offer tips for reading to babies to all expectant parents during their last trimester prenatal appointment at Munson Medical Center.
- Provide “Book Exchange Boxes” and tips for reading to babies at pediatric waiting rooms, baby pantries, playgroups and other community locations in the 5-county region.
- Train our Club members and other volunteers as literacy advocates who will visit these community locations to model reading aloud to infants and toddlers and encourage parents to follow this example.
We are excited about the potential these strategies have to reach even more parents, and the opportunity Born To Read gives all of us to “Light Up Rotary”! If you'd like to learn more, please join us at our next Born to Read meeting on Wednesday, July 16, 12-1:30 pm at the Traverse City Country Club.
HEALTHY HARVEST works with local farmers to glean produce and
feed hungry people in our community
HEALTHY HARVEST is a collaboration between area farmers, Food Rescue and Rotary Clubs of Northwest Michigan to improve healthy food access to our region’s food insecure.
- FOOD RESCUE OF NORTHWEST MICHIGAN: Food Rescue teams drive the five-county region to collect donated, fresh food from area grocers and farmers, distributing it the same day, free-of-charge, to partner agencies who feed hungry neighbors.
- ROTARY: Rotary is an international service organization with over 34,000 clubs worldwide. Ten Rotary clubs in the five-county area unite roughly 600 Rotarians who volunteer their time and diverse talents to serve communities both local and abroad.
- OUR LOCAL FARMERS: Farming is a leading economic and cultural producer in the Grand Traverse region, helping to feed area families and international communities alike. We cannot let this healthy, local produce go to waste while men, women, and children in our community go to bed hungry.