Program gives local children and their families a “prescription to read” during pediatric wellness exams
The El Paso Community Foundation and the Hervey Foundation recently awarded Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso’s Reach out and Read Program grants totaling $13,860. The program provides books to children during their wellness exams at pediatric and family medicine clinics at TTP El Paso’s Alberta and Transmountain locations.
The Hervey Foundation awarded the program $10,360, and the El Paso Community Foundation awarded $3,500 to purchase age-appropriate and bilingual books for children ages 6 months to 5 years old.
Through Reach Out and Read, health care providers give developmentally and culturally appropriate books to children and provide families a “prescription to read” during wellness exams. Physicians also advise parents about the benefits of reading aloud and how to incorporate reading into the family’s daily routine. If a child attends all of their recommended wellness visits, they will have collected 10 books by the time they begin school.
“These grants are very substantial and important for our patients,” said Peter Catinella, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the Department of Family Medicine at TTP El Paso at Transmountain. “Reach Out and Read is a high-impact program that reaches families most in need of education support and resources.”
Reach Out and Read is a national physician-based literacy program that serves approximately four million children across the country. The Department of Pediatrics at TTP El Paso established the program locally in 2002.
Blanca Garcia, M.D., a pediatrics specialist who oversees the program at TTP El Paso at Alberta, said the grants will provide books for more than 2,000 children in the community.
“This gives children in our region books at an early age to enhance the development of important cognitive skills crucial during early childhood,” said Dr. Garcia. “It also helps us make positive strides toward school readiness and the overall health of children in the Borderland.”
Reach Out and Read attempts to alleviate some of the obstacles families face in their children’s literacy development. School success depends on reading skills – children learn to read between kindergarten and third grade, and read to learn after third grade. Those who struggle to read by fourth grade are likely to struggle for the remainder of their school years.
The growth and popularity of the Reach Out and Read Program at TTP El Paso demonstrates its impact on children and families in the Paso del Norte region.
The Hervey Foundation gives to nonprofit organizations primarily in El Paso, with an emphasis on projects benefiting child welfare and human services.
The El Paso Community Foundation was established in 1977 as a permanent endowment for the long-term benefit of the El Paso region, Far West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico. It serves as a charitable resource to donors, nonprofit organizations and the community at large.
Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso is the region’s largest medical group practice, with over 250 specialists and subspecialists providing world-class patient care for the entire family at several locations across El Paso.