Partner Profile: Covenant Community Care

In 2015, Rx for Reading Detroit began a valued partnership with Covenant Community Care, a federally qualified health clinic that provides care regardless of patients’ ability to pay.  Each year Covenant provides health, dental, and behavioral care to over 18,000 people in Metro Detroit through their seven clinics as well as their home care and homeless outreach programs.

In two years Rx for Reading has provided over 3,500 books to the patients and families at the Covenant Michigan Avenue Health Clinic, another 1,350 books to the Covenant Michigan Avenue Dental Clinic, and 550 books to the Covenant Clinic on Moross. With the help of our generous donors we are able to include new Spanish and bilingual books in every delivery to Covenant clinics in Southwest Detroit.

Dr. Mary Hakim and the other healthcare providers at Covenant know how important reading and access to books is for children’s long-term health and educational outcomes:

“Literacy promotion is critical to pediatric care. Many families living in poverty do not have the funds to purchase books for their home.  The Rx for Reading program enables families to have this resource. Providers and clinics can also influence parents’ views on literacy by emphasizing the importance of reading aloud with their children.  This helps with language development and literacy, promotes bonding within families, and helps forge a love for reading.”

Dr. Mary Hakim, M.D., Covenant Community Care

Nuestros NinosThank you to the families and staff of Covenant Community Care. We are proud to partner with you!

 

A Little Free Library’s New Home on Campus

The latest Rx for Reading Detroit free library is inside the McNichols Campus Library at University of Detroit Mercy.  Visitors to the library are invited to choose books to “Take, Read, Share” and donate their own books to help keep the library stocked. The McNichols Campus Library is open to the public and serves as a valuable resource for students and members of the community.UDM LFLThe steward for the library, Megan Novell, is on the staff of the McNichols Campus Library and is an adjunct English instructor at University of Detroit Mercy. She also designed and painted the library!  The Detroit Mercy library joins over 40 other free libraries installed by Rx for Reading Detroit.

UDM LFL with Megan Novell

Books are the Best Part of a Bedtime Routine!

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As part of an initiative to promote healthy sleep routines, Rx for Reading donated a collection of 120 new books to 40 very excited preschoolers at Stottlemyer Early Childhood and Family Development Center in Westland, MI.

The healthy sleep initiative was developed by five senior nursing students at University of Detroit Mercy–Jessica Grauer, Haddy Jatta, Ze’Aneia Jiménez, Gabrielle Roti and Reshma Villanassery–and their instructor, Sherry McConnell.

Today’s guest post is written by Ze’Aneia Jiménez.

cp14As a senior nursing student at the University of Detroit Mercy, my community health practicum focused on creating healthy bedtime routines for children age 3-5 who are at risk of developing health disparities related to living at or below the poverty line. Our goal was to develop appropriate interventions to help families establish nighttime routines that support healthy sleep behaviors.cp11-croppedA major component of a good sleep routine is reading out loud to children before they go to bed. However, many of the children we worked with do not own books of their own. We needed to help give their families the tools necessary to carry out healthy sleep routines.

Partnering with Rx for Reading was a big part of our success with the students and families at Stottlemyer. The preschoolers were excited to pick out books to read and keep, and they could not wait to show them to their parents. Teachers were also grateful for the help in creating literacy-rich environments at home. We owe everyone at Rx for Reading a huge thank you. We could not have done it without your help and support!cp10

Rx for Reading at Dickinson West Elementary School!

This September, as kids across the country get back into the swing of the school year, the students at Dickinson West Elementary in Hamtramck, MI are the proud new owners of an Rx for Reading library, along with a collection of 300 books they can “Take, Read, Share.”

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According to a recent study on “Book Deserts” published in Urban Education, researchers found only one book available for purchase for every 42 children in Hamtramck.  This makes it one of the lowest-access communities for children’s books in Michigan.  The Rx for Reading library will be a free resource for all of the children and families at Dickinson West, and teachers and community members will help keep it stocked with books that children can take home, read, and keep.

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Ms. Bosnjakovsi, 5th grade teacher at Dickinson West, Stuart Tucker, Hamtramck resident and Adjunct faculty of English at University of Detroit Mercy, and Rx for Reading Director Mary-Catherine Harrison.

Ms. Suzana Bosnjakovski’s 5th graders will serve as official library stewards after being “deputized” by Rx for Reading Director Mary-Catherine Harrison at the library unveiling.  Thank you to Ms. Bosnjakovski, Dickinson West Principal Corey Pitts, and the entire Dickinson West community for their support of literacy and reading in Hamtramck.

Next up: Dickinson East!

Grow in Detroit with the Christ Church Reading Camp

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This summer Rx for Reading was able to provide 300 new books for the Christ Church Summer Reading Camp, an annual week-long camp that welcomes children from the Franklin Wright Settlement.

Thank you to Christine Galli, Director of the Christ Church Summer Reading Camp, for writing this guest post!  


“Grow In Detroit” was our theme for this year’s Christ Church Reading Camp, and with the help of Rx for Reading Detroit, we found a spotlight book called Rooting for You. It is the story of a little seed in the ground who is experiencing change and growth in its life. The seed is in a dark place to start, but one that feels safe. As the seed starts to change shape, take root and grow upward, it runs into obstacles. The seed fears the unknown and hidden dangers, but with the help of its friends, pushes through it all to find the light! A meaningful book that tied together the children’s tending to their plants, hearing stories from real life urban farmers, and talking about their own fears of change and growth.
Rooting for You
Other books that the children read were The Enormous Potato, The Gigantic Turnip, Compost Stew, and Potatoes on the Rooftop, which includes a segment about Detroit’s urban farming. Also making an appearance were a juggler, story tellers, and members of Christ Church who take part in community farming. All in all, it was a tremendous week and we hope for the same great experience in 2017!
“We had a great week with close to 30 children and 50 volunteers, and at the end of the week each one of the children had a bagful of books, thanks to the generous donation from Rx for Reading Detroit!” Christine Galli
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Brightmoor Book Squad!

Guest post by Nicky Marcot, teacher at Westside Christian Academy and community volunteer with Neighbors Building Brightmoor.  Nicky is a University of Detroit Mercy alum (English, 2007). 

Brightmoor Book SquadOn Detroit’s northwest side neighborhood of Brightmoor, Rx for Reading provided a beautiful collection of high-quality books to Brightmoor Book Squad (BBS). Over the course of two months, Kids ages 1-12 came twice a week for an hour to read together, discuss what they read, complete fun related crafts, and share a healthy snack. The students also chose books to bring home, read, and keep.

The purpose of BBS’s Summer Reading Club was to keep students reading throughout the year, help curb summer slide, and show that reading doesn’t just have to be something they do in school, but can be a fun free-time activity too. Vanessa, the grandmother of ten-year-old participant Dan, said, “I had to force him to come the first day, but after that, he couldn’t wait to come back. I’ve never seen him read this much on his own!” Thank you Rx for Reading for helping get kids like Dan excited about reading, and coming back for more!

Community members Tavia Young, Britt Bradd, Trena Ross and Sky Brown helped run the Brightmoor Book Squad this summer.

River Rouge Reads!

Spending the summer with good books is the best way to maintain reading skills and return to school ready to succeed. More importantly, it’s fun!

Hyacinth 3This year Rx for Reading gave a collection of 180 books to 30 fantastic kids in River Rouge.  The Hyacinth Court Summer program provides free day camp for children age 7 to 14 who live in River Rouge public housing. Campers and their families are provided with free breakfast and lunch each day, and campers participate in an array of enrichment and academic activities and take weekly field trips to educational sites in Metro Detroit.

Reading and writing is a key part of the Hyacinth Court summer program.  Each morning campers write in reflection journal and are encouraged to share their experiences in their communities and families.  They also read individually and in groups and discuss the books they have read and how central themes relate to their lives.
Hyacinth 4After reading and sharing books at camp this summer the kids will get to choose books they want to take home and keep. Thanks to the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency for including Rx for Reading in the summer fun!
Read more about the Youth and Family Services provided through Wayne Metro.

Rx for Reading at Shekinah Tabernacle!

One of the guiding principles of Rx for Reading is that reading happens everywhere. We work to put books anywhere they can get in the hands and hearts of children in Detroit.


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Our latest “home” for reading is the Shekinah Tabernacle Gospel Church at 16900 West Chicago.

Shekinah Tabernacle offers a broad range of programming for children in their congregation and the surrounding community.

Thank you to the Shekinah family and to Pastor Reggie Huff and his wife Linda Huff for inviting the latest Rx for Reading Library into their church community. Just look at these happy readers!!!

“The kids love ‘their’ library!” Linda Huff

 

 

 

El día de los niños/El día de los libros

El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) is an annual celebration of children, families, and reading.  Now in its 20th year, Día festivities across the country focus on literacy for children of all cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

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In Southwest Detroit, Día was marked with a huge celebration in Clark Park organized by Matrix Head Start and attended by over 1,500 people.  Rx for Reading was proud to contribute 915 new books for children and families who attended the event, including over 400 new Spanish and bilingual books that were funded by the UDM School Psychology Literacy Fund.  All of the children who attended the event were encouraged to choose books to take home, read, and keep.

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The celebration included favorite book characters, musical and cultural performances, and family activities related to reading and literacy. A highlight was a mock voting booth, where over 500 children voted for their favorite book!

Dia 3Dia 9Every day is a day for children and a day for books. Happy Día!

 

Rx for Reading Ypsilanti launches free library at Washtenaw WIC!

Rx for Reading has expanded!

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Rx for Reading Ypsilanti and their first Rx for Reading free library at the Washtenaw WIC Clinic at 555 Towner, Ypsilanti, MI.  Washtenaw WIC provides nutritional counseling and food for low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years of age as well as breastfeeding support and referrals for immunizations, prenatal care, and more.

Now, moms and children will also get to choose a book to take home every time they visit Washtenaw WIC.

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Cathy Sanborn, WIC Dietician, and Gayathri Akella, WIC Coordinator with the new Rx for Reading Ypsilanti Library

Rx for Reading Ypsilanti is spearheaded by Kaitlin Browne, an English Literature graduate student at Eastern Michigan University.  Kaitlin was inspired by the idea of taking her passion for literature outside of the college classroom and into a setting where literacy can be enjoyed and encouraged at a young age.  As Kaitlin describes her own path to reading, “I was fortunate because, although my family didn’t have much money when I was growing up, my mother worked as a clerk at a bookstore.  Having access to those books is a huge part of why I study literature today.”

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Right after the Rx for Reading Ypsilanti WIC library opened, this little sweetheart and her mom chose a book to read and take home.

Thank you to Kaitlin and to the staff and families at Washtenaw WIC!

“This makes my heart smile.  Reading is power!”  Erica McLeod, Washtenaw WIC Breastfeeding Peer Educator

Rx for Reading at UDM’s Counseling Clinic

Our latest Rx for Reading library is right on the campus of University of Detroit Mercy!  UDM’s Counseling Clinic is a no-cost mental health clinic providing individual and group counseling to approximately 250 clients per year.  The clinic provides counseling for children and adults for a variety of mental health concerns, including depression, substance use, anger management, anxiety and career counseling.

Counseling Clinic 2Nursing major Heather Galli and English and Education major Paige Olekszyk braved the winter weather to deliver the bookcase and books.  They were able to fit 365 books onto the book shelves–one for every day of the year.  Special thanks to Emilie Wetherington, Director of Disability Support Services at University of Detroit Mercy, for her donation of the bookcase.

Counseling Clinic I croppedClinical Director Sheri Pickover, Ph.D., LPC spoke to the value of incorporating Rx for Reading into the clinic’s work:  “The opportunity to access free reading material provides the children and adults who come to the Counseling Clinic with an improved waiting room experience and a way to obtain often expensive books.  The Counseling Clinic is grateful for the ability to offer our clients these resources.”

The Greatest Gifts are the Ones We Give

This holiday season, there is a whole lot of reading going on across Detroit!

Children's Health Center

Rx for Reading at Waller Health Center

In 2015, Rx for Reading distributed 20,000 books to babies, toddlers, kids, and teens in our community. At our 18 Rx for Reading Clinic Libraries, children at health, dental, and WIC clinics choose a book to take home at every visit. At our 3 Head Start partners, preschoolers read with UDM college students and choose a new book to take home every two weeks. And this fall, we expanded our Little Free Library Initiative by installing 12 Rx for Reading Little Free Libraries in community organizations across Detroit.

Detroit Center for Family Advocacy

Rx for Reading at Detroit Center for Family Advocacy

The Rx for Reading Little Free Library Initiative helps integrate literacy into the work of community organizations already serving children, teens, and families in our community.  Each library is delivered to its new home along with a collection of 250 books, and everyone visiting the libraries is invited to choose a book to read and take home.

LA SED

Rx for Reading at LA SED (Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development)

We could not be more proud to partner with these incredible organizations: St. Christine’s Soup Kitchen, LA SED (Latin Americans for Social and Economic Development), Capuchin Services CenterCabrini ClinicCOTS Detroit, Detroit Center for Family Advocacy, Covenant House, Butzel Family Center, Don Bosco Hall Community Resource Center, Leland Baptist Church, and Spectrum Health’s Lincoln and Calumet Residential Treatment Facilities.

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Rx for Reading at the Don Bosco Hall Community Resource Center

Rx for Reading Clinic Libraries and Little Free Libraries create community spaces that celebrate reading and allow thousands of children to choose books to read, love, and keep.

We are so grateful to each and every one of the generous donors and volunteers who made our work possible this year.  Hundreds of individuals gave their time, money, expertise, and books.

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Rx for Reading at Bright Beginnings

Thank you for giving the gift of reading to Detroit’s next generation of readers and leaders.

 

 

 

It Takes a Village to Build a Village of Little Free Libraries!

School of Architecture students with some of the Little Free Libraries Rx for Reading will be distributing throughout the city.

UDM Architecture students with some of the libraries Rx for Reading will be distributing throughout Detroit.

What an incredible day!  Over 30 volunteers came together to make our latest literacy initiative a reality–building and painting 12 Rx for Reading Little Free Libraries that Rx for Reading will place with community organizations all over the city, including COTS Shelter and LA Sed Youth Center.  Rx for Reading will deliver each library with a collection of 250 books for kids and teens, helping community partners support reading and literacy for the families they serve.

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John Mio of John Mio Woodworking not only volunteered his time to build the libraries, but also worked all day to help get them painted and ready for delivery.

John Mio and Mike Casey volunteered their time and expertise to build the libraries.  15 incredible volunteers from Kohl’s stores in West Bloomfield, Troy, and Westland, MI painted the libraries and sorted and packed over 1,250 children’s books to fill them.  UDM School of Architecture students finished the roof designs, which were created by local artist Rebekah Modrak.  UDM students helped at every stage of the process.

Kohl's believes that everybody has the ability to make a difference. Since 2001, over 1,000,000 Kohl's employees have volunteered their time to community organizations through the Kohl's Cares Associates in Action program, and Kohl's has supported their volunteers with over $97 million in grants to the nonprofits they have served.

Since 2001, over 1,000,000 Kohl’s employees have volunteered their time to community organizations through the Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action program, and Kohl’s has supported their volunteers with over $97 million in grants to the nonprofits they have served.

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University of Detroit Mercy painter Ron Heurtebise helped direct the Kohl’s volunteer crew.

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Fr. Gilbert Sunghera, SJ, with students in his Architecture studio course as they work on final touches.

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Rx for Reading Executive Director Mary-Catherine Harrison and Student Coordinator Sara Zawacki.

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The end result, ready for delivery!

Thank you to everyone who gave their time, talent, energy, and generosity to help build this village.  These little libraries will have an enormous impact in our community.

A Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Mind!

Rx for Reading is proud to support the work of Infant Oral Health, a community outreach program of the UDM School of Dentistry Pediatric Dental Clinic.  This collaboration helps spread the message that literacy and dental hygiene are both key to children’s health.

UDM senior dental student David Posthumus reads with Julius and Ahlinius Grant.

UDM senior dental student David Posthumus reads with Julius and Ahlinius Grant.

Since 2006, Clinical Associate Professor Carolynn Zeitz, RDH, BS, RDA, MA has been taking groups of University of Detroit Mercy senior dental students to Head Start and Early Head Start programs to perform dental exams on children ages 4 months to 4 years of age and talk with the kids about good dental health.  Now those kids also get to read with the dental students and take home a brand new book from Rx for Reading!

Since 2014, Rx for Reading has distributed over 1,000 children’s books through the UDM Pediatric Dental Clinic.  With the help of the Infant Oral Health Community Outreach Program, we will be able to help foster a lifelong love of reading for even more children.

UDMSD dental students help spread the message: “Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and read for twenty minutes a day. 2 x 2 + 20 = A Healthy Mouth and a Healthy Mind!”

Detroit Write-a-House Winner Brings Books to Kids in her Neighborhood

Casey Rocheteau was the first ever winner of the Detroit Write-a-House competition.  Write a House works to bolster the literary arts community in Detroit by renovating homes in Detroit neighborhoods and giving them to writers, free of charge, forever.

Rocheteau, a poet and performing artist, contributes to Detroit’s vibrant literary scene in print and in performance.  But there is another way she contributes to literacy and reading—with the Little Free Library planted in front of her home.  Recently Rx for Reading gave Rocheteau over 400 children’s books to help keep her library filled with choices for all of the kids in her neighborhood.

Rocheteau’s Write-a-House is a reader’s paradise.

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Bookwoman Award Presented to Mary-Catherine Harrison

The 2015 WNBA Detroit Bookwoman Award was presented to Mary-Catherine Harrison, Founder and Executive Director of Rx for Reading, “in recognition of her tireless and passionate work advocating for literacy and community engagement.”

Mary-Catherine Harrison (right) after being presented the Bookwoman Award by Shannon Jones Janeczek (left), President of the WNBA Detroit Chapter and Tanya Davidson (middle), WNBA Detroit Award Chair.

Mary-Catherine Harrison (right) after being presented the Bookwoman Award by Shannon Jones Janeczek (left), President of the WNBA Detroit Chapter and Tanya Davidson (middle), WNBA Detroit Award Chair.

The Women’s National Book Association was founded in 1917 and works to promote reading and support the role of women in the “community of the book”.  The Detroit Chapter of the WNBA, founded in 1966, organizes local events related to books, publishing, and reading and supports non-profit organizations that promote literacy and reading, including, in 2015, Rx for Reading Detroit.

Mary-Catherine Harrison is the 17th recipient of the Bookwoman Award, which was first presented by the WNBA Detroit Chapter in 1991.  The award honors Michigan women who have made significant contributions to libraries, reading, writing, or publishing.  Previous winners include Rochelle Riley, columnist for the Detroit Free Press and tireless advocate for literacy, Colleen Kammer, co-owner of the independent bookstore BookBeat, Naomi Long Madgett, publisher, educator, and Detroit Poet Laureate, Terry Blackhawk, poet and founder of InsideOut Literary Arts Project, and Debra Bonde, Founder and Director of Seedlings Braille Books for Children.  

Both Rx for Reading and Seedlings Braille Books for Children work to expand access to books to children who otherwise wouldn't have them.  Here, 2015 Bookwoman Mary-Catherine Harrison with 1992 Bookwoman Debra Bonde.

Both Rx for Reading and Seedlings Braille Books for Children work to expand access to children’s books. Here, 2015 Bookwoman Mary-Catherine Harrison with 1992 Bookwoman Debra Bonde.

Mary-Catherine Harrison with Margaret Auer, WNBA Detroit Treasurer and Dean of University Libraries and Instructional Technology at University of Detroit Mercy and Pamela Zarkowski, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at University of Detroit Mercy.

Mary-Catherine Harrison with Margaret Auer, Treasurer of the WNBA Detroit Chapter and Dean of University Libraries and Instructional Technology at University of Detroit Mercy and Pamela Zarkowski, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at University of Detroit Mercy.

Rx for Reading volunteers Renesha Smoot Grafton, Maya Faison, and Emily Auten with Dr. Harrison.

Mary-Catherine Harrison with Rx for Reading volunteers Renesha Smoot Grafton, Maya Faison, and Emily Auten.

Thank you to the Women’s National Book Association and WNBA Detroit for this wonderful recognition of Rx for Reading and our work on behalf of children’s literacy.

Books and Balloons in New Center Park

RX for Reading Detroit was thrilled to be part of an end-of-summer celebration of reading at New Center Park in Detroit.  Storytime panorama.

Organized by one of our community partners, Detroit Little Libraries, the event included a public build of Little Free Libraries and a special recognition of Detroit as the fastest growing community of Little Free Libraries in the country.  The award was presented to Aliyah Sabree, the Mayor’s Liason to City Council, by Todd Bol, founder of the international Little Free Library movement.

Aliyah Sabree of the Mayor's Office, Todd Bol or Little Free Libraries, and Kim Kozlowski of Detroit Little Libraries.

Aliyah Sabree of the Mayor’s Office, Todd Bol of Little Free Libraries, and Kim Kozlowski of Detroit Little Libraries.

Ms. Aliyah Sabree, the Mayor's Liason to the City Council, accepts the award on behalf of the city.

Ms. Aliyah Sabree, the Mayor’s Liason to the City Council, accepts the award on behalf of the city.

RX for Reading invited two local preschools to be part of the story hour festivities, which featured Paul Murphy, head speech writer for GM.  Paul read the wonderful book “Silly Sally Goes to the Zoo,” written by his late wife Sally Laux Murphy.  The book follows Sally, a young girl in a wheelchair, as she meets all the animals–from A to Z–at a crazy, mixed up zoo.  The kids loved Sally and her animal adventures.

Paul Murphy reads "Silly Sally Goes to the Zoo."

Paul Murphy reads “Silly Sally Goes to the Zoo.”

RX for Reading Director Mary-Catherine Harrison chats with some of the kids.

RX for Reading Director Mary-Catherine Harrison chats with some of the kids.

All of the children who attended the event chose a new book to take home from RX for Reading, and each of the preschools received a collection of books for their classroom.

RX for Reading volunteer and UDM undergraduate Renesha Smoot Grafton helps kids pick out their books.

RX for Reading volunteer and UDM undergraduate Renesha Smoot Grafton helping kids pick out their books.

Doc McStuffins!

Another happy reader–with Doc McStuffins!

Reading in the City

Reading throughout the summer is the best way to prevent “summer slide” and go back to school ready to succeed.  Plus, it is a really fun way to spend summer in the city!

A camper and counselor read at the Minock Park Summer in the City Camp.

A Minock Park Summer in the City Camper with the ever-popular Clifford.

This summer RX for Reading partnered with Summer in the City, which offers free, 8-week camps for local kids in seven Detroit locations–Northwest Activity Center, Latino Mission Society, Delray Recreation Center, Ford LaSalle Park and Focus: HOPE, Pasteur Elementary School, Hamtramck Community Center, and Minock Park.  Campers get to read, play, do arts and crafts, sports, creative writing, and take Friday Field Trips throughout the city.

More summer reading at Minock Park.

More summer reading at Minock Park.

RX for Reading provided a box of writing paper and new and gently used books for all seven Summer in the City camps–750 books in all.  Campers got to read many of the books throughout the summer, and at “Finale Friday” kids chose whatever books they wanted to take home.

Summer in the City campers with some of their selections!

Summer in the City campers with some of their selections!

Our incredible RX for Reading volunteer and UDM School Psychology graduate student Beth Jordon with some of the books she brought to Finale Friday.

Our incredible RX for Reading volunteer and UDM School Psychology graduate student Beth Jordon.

Meet Mary Grahame Hunter--She said the highlight of her day was when a little girl chose "Mama Went to Jail for the Vote" (pictured here).  When she asked the little girl if she was sure she answered emphatically, "Yes... I'm positive proudly".  Mary also loved giving a little boy a book on Willy Mays because he said he loved baseball.  His grin stretched from ear to ear.

Meet Mary Grahame Hunter–She said the highlight of her day was when a little girl chose “Mama Went to Jail for the Vote” (pictured here). When she asked the little girl if she was sure she answered emphatically, “Yes… I’m positive proudly”. Mary also loved giving a little boy a book on Willy Mays because he said he loved baseball.  His grin stretched from ear to ear.

These girls are volunteers with Summer in the City.  Yeva, on the right, immigrated from the Ukraine when she was 4.  She said she had inspiring teachers that taught her the love of books, and that's why today she is a Sociology & Pre-med Sophomore at Amherst.  Mika, on the left, refused to read in grade school, but in middle school discovered Harry Potter and hasn''t stopped reading since.  She is now a sophomore at Oakland university.

These girls are volunteers with Summer in the City.  Yeva, on the right, immigrated from the Ukraine when she was 4.  She said she had inspiring teachers that taught her the love of books, and that’s why today she is a Sociology & Pre-med Sophomore at Amherst. Mika, on the left, refused to read in grade school, but in middle school discovered Harry Potter and hasn”t stopped reading since.  She is now a sophomore at Oakland university.

A Lola le encantan los cuentos!

Lola loves stories–A Lola le encantan los cuentos!

The little boy pictured here with his sisters and mother said as they started to walk away, "Mama, can I go back and sit in the van because I want to read my book?!"

This little boy, pictured here with his sisters and mother, said as they started to walk away, “Mama, can I go back and sit in the van because I want to read my book?”

RX for Reading at Cabrini Clinic

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our second RX for Reading Little Free Library, outside of St. Frances Cabrini Clinic, the oldest free clinic in the country.  

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Located at 1234 Porter Street in historic Corktown, Cabrini provides primary care, prescription assistance, and mental health care to uninsured patients, as well as offering community education classes like healthy cooking and yoga.  The library’s location is perfect, surrounded by community garden beds, next door to the Murphy Playlot, and around the block from Most Holy Trinity School.

Thank you to the Executive Director of Cabrini, Kelly Herron, MAPS, and Alisa Smith, DPN, Clinical Nurse Manager and University of Detroit Mercy alumna.  Alisa will serve as official library steward.  RX for Reading filled it to the brim with 100 books and delivered another 350 to help keep it replenished with great books for kids.

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Extra special incredible thanks to Americorps VISTA volunteers Erik Krieger and Maya Faison, who built and “planted” the library for RX for Reading Detroit.  They have created something new and lasting for this Detroit neighborhood!

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Material support for the RX for Reading Little Free Library was provided by a Mission Micro Grant from the University of Detroit Mercy.

RX for Reading Celebrates Summer Reading

RX for Reading was thrilled to spend a gorgeous Wednesday at the Southwest Solutions Thrive by Five Family Fun Fair in Patton Park Recreation Center.  We distributed over 350 brand new books to children and their families!

Books for all ages

Recent UDM alum Sarah Casnovsky (English major, Class of 2015) and School Psychology graduate students Beth Jordon and Jamie Reynolds helped kids pick out the perfect book and talked with parents about the value of reading together.

Beth Jordon is not only working towards her Psy-S at UDM, she is also single mom of four.  At the Thrive by Five event she was able to bond with other parents over the value of storytime.  Many of the parents were thrilled to find books in Spanish that they could share with their children, and Beth was able to talk with other moms about the adventures and fun that reading inspires.

As Beth puts it, “if you learn to read and love it, the world and such rich opportunities are wide open to you!”  Here is Beth and Dora the Explorer, with (of course) one of the Dora books kids could choose.

Beth Jordon and Dora, with one of RX for Reading's  Dora the Explorer book, of course!

Happy Summer Reading from RX for Reading Detroit!

RX for Reading and Detroit Little Free Libraries

One of our goals at RX for Reading Detroit is to help grow a culture of reading. 

That goal is perfectly aligned with the Little Free Libraryinternational Little Free Library movement, which aims to “plant” tiny libraries in public spaces across the globe–in parks, on streetcorners, by schools and bus stops.

Detroit Little LibrariesDetroit Little Libraries is working to make our city the Little Free Library Capital of the World.  Their ambitious goal: plant 313 of these bird houses for books in Detroit.

Our own RX for Reading Little Free Library on McNichols and Oak Street has already distributed over 500 children’s books to kids in our community.

We were thrilled to share the love with another Little Free Library at the Detroit Loves You Guest Home in the Virginia Park neighborhood.  Proprietor Nathan Andren picked up 300 books from RX for Reading to help keep this fabulous Little Free Library on Hazelwood Street stocked with great picks for children and teens.  Thanks, Nathan, for helping bring books to the heart of the city!

The newly stocked library at Detroit Loves You Guest Home.

The newly stocked library at the Detroit Loves You Guest Home.

From Nathan Andren, proprietor of the Detroit Loves you Guest Home:

Detroit Loves You Guest Home, Where Your Visit Helps Uplift and Transform Detroit.  Established in 2010, DLY was the first of over 400 Airbnbs that are now operating in Detroit. Our mission is to facilitate guests’ meaningful experiences with Detroit and Detroiters, while their stays benefit the Virginia Park neighborhood and city at large. We do this by setting aside 10% of gross revenue for neighborhood organizations like the Hazelwood Block Club, external property improvements such as our community garden, and neighborhood and citywide initiatives like Detroit Little Free Library Capital of the World.

Thank you, Salem Elementary!

Thank you to Salem Elementary School and Principal Ray Metcalf for a generous summer donation to RX for Reading Detroit!  Not only did Salem donate great books, but they also gave six additional boxes of writing paper, building blocks, and counting tiles.  Salem’s supplies will make great “Back to School” packages as RX for Reading gears up for the fall and continues to promote literacy as the core of all learning.

Salem Elementary Field Day

Salem Elementary Field Day

Principal Metcalf!

Principal Metcalf!

Thank you, Bach Elementary!

Where do you get the best books for kids?  From kids!

Bach PawIn honor of March is Reading Month, Bach Elementary School ran a school-wide book drive for RX for Reading Detroit.  They set an ambitious goal: collect 1,000 books in one month, enough to create an RX for Reading Clinic Library and sustain it for one year.

Bach met that goal…and quadrupled it!  The kids, families, and teachers at Bach collected 4,033 books, enough to establish THREE RX for Reading Clinic Libraries.  With their hard work and generosity, RX for Reading was able to build libraries at the new Children’s Health Center in Midtown, the ACC Behavioral Health Clinic on Seven Mile, and the ACC Behavioral Health and Primary Care Clinic in Dearborn.

Special thanks to Elameno-Peace for their help Elameno-Corpsorganizing the book drive, the Bach Elementary 4th Grade Service Squad for their hard work collecting and sorting the books, and the Bach Elementary PTO for their support.  Elameno-Peace sponsored prizes for the three classrooms that collected the most books, and supporters of Bach and RX for Reading sponsored a $100 prize if Bach met its overall goal.  The RX for Reading Prize will be used to purchase books with characters from diverse backgrounds for the Bach Elementary Library.

This is what kids can accomplish when they work together to make a difference.  THANK YOU, BACH!

The 4th Grade Service Squad made the book drive a reality.

The 4th Grade Service Squad made the book drive a reality.  Here they are at the announcement of the book drive.

Members of the service squad collect books.

The Service Squad decorated and distributed collection bins and served as “ambassadors” to each classroom.  Each week, they collected and counted books and made announcements to the school about progress towards their goal.

RX for Reading Executive Director Mary-Catherine Harrison awards the RX for Reading Prize.  Ann Arbor musicians Gemini and storyteller Laura Raynor were on hand for the celebration.

RX for Reading Executive Director Mary-Catherine Harrison presents the RX for Reading Prize.  Ann Arbor musicians Gemini and storyteller Laura Raynor were on hand for the celebration.

Audrey and Ava represented the school at the March is Reading Month celebration.

The kids were excited about the prizes, but much more excited about working together for literacy and social justice.  Many of them picked out their very favorite books to contribute to the book drive and convinced siblings and friends to donate too.

Please contact us if you would like to make a donation to RX for Reading or are a school or community organization that would like to run an RX for Reading Book Drive!

Children’s Health Center has moved, and RX for Reading moved with them!

One of our very first RX for Reading Clinic Libraries has moved!  Children’s Health Center, part of Advantage Health Centers, is now located inside the Waller Health Center in midtown Detroit. CHC provides high-quality health care to under- and uninsured patients, offering care to children and their families.  CHC staff physician, Erin Walton-Doyle, MD, is board-certified in both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.

Dr. Walton-Doyle knows, reading is essential to children’s health!  When the Children’s Health Center moved they packed up the RX for Reading Library and took it with them.  We just replenished the library with another 365 books so their pediatric patients can continue to pick out a book to take home at every single checkup.  Thank you to Dr. Walton-Doyle, the CHC staff, and all the kids and families at Children’s Health Center!

Christopher Boston and his Mom pick out a new book

Christopher Boston and his Mom pick out a new book

Thank you, Girl Scout Junior Troop 40001!

The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Junior can earn.  It is awarded to a troop that works together to make positive change in their community and world.

To earn their Bronze Award, the girls in Troop 40001 decided to work together to support literacy in their community.  We are so grateful for their donation of over 2,000 children’s books to RX for Reading Detroit!  It was a privilege to work together to sort their books and prep them for delivery to two RX for Reading Clinic Libraries in Southwest Detroit.  What an incredible group of young people!

Girl Scout Junior Troop 40001 with RX for Reading Executive Director Mary-Catherine Harrison

Girl Scout Junior Troop 40001 with RX for Reading Executive Director Mary-Catherine Harrison and some of the books they collected. 

RX for Reading Detroit can only do the work we do because of organizations like Girl Scout Troop 40001.  If you have books to donate or if you are part of a community organization that would like to run an RX for Reading Book Drive, please contact us.  We have had Book Drives organized by preschools, elementary and middle schools, churches, libraries, even a yoga studio!  Book Drives can be as big or little as you want, and RX for Reading provides all the materials you need.

Thank you to Girl Scout Junior Troop 40001 for your work on behalf of children’s literacy.  You helped make our community stronger!

RX for Reading Little Free Library in Gesu Community Green!

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The newest addition to the University of Detroit Mercy neighborhood is the RX for Reading Little Free Library in the Gesu Community Green!  Little Free Libraries are community gathering spaces where neighbors can read, borrow, and share books with others in their community.  The Gesu Community Green, a neighborhood park at McNichols and Oak Drive on the west side of Detroit, is the perfect spot for our first RX for Reading Little Free Library.

Special thanks to the University of Detroit Mercy Mission Micro Grant program for material support and Emilie and Terry Wetherington for building and installing the library.  RX for Reading will keep the library stocked with children’s books for all kids in the community to enjoy.

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We had a great time at the “Bookies and Cookies” library launch party (you can see video of the “official” unveiling on YouTube).  The celebration was made possible by UDM undergraduate volunteers Samantha Schurg, Sydney Rozycki, Robiane Banks, and Kristin Hnatio and volunteers from the UDM School Psychology graduate program led by Dr. Erin Henze: Fatimah Muhammad, Heather Bishop, Sandybel Quintana, Nikia Duncan, and Alicia Burditt.

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Thank you also to Gesu Volunteer Coordinator Anita Sevier, who helped make a home for the RX for Reading Little Free Library; to the UDM Titans who helped “plant” the library and celebrate its unveiling; to the kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders at Gesu School who welcomed the library to their neighborhood and promised to serve as “special library stewards”; and to all of the guests who helped make the library launch a huge success, including Margaret Auer, Dean of University Libraries at University of Detroit Mercy, Christa Laurin, Principal of Gesu School, and Fr. Nathan Wendt, Associate Pastor of Gesu Church.

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Come visit the RX for Reading Little Free Library, borrow a book, or bring some to share with neighbors!

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Healthy Teens Read!

RX for Reading distributes a lot of picture books and early readers, but reading is a lifelong activity!  It was especially fun to put together the RX for Reading Library at the Healthy Teens Community Care Center on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.  From Louise Erdrich to Lois Lowry, Twilight to The Hunger Games, we hope the teens at HTC3 find plenty of books for their reading pleasure!

The staff at the Healthy Teen Center with the RX for Reading Library!

Thanks to the incredible staff at Healthy Teen Community Care Center! From left to right: Jade Burns, HTC3 Director; Ora Taunton- Medical assistant; Ronida Powell – MSU Intern; Jasmine Smothers – Clinic administrative assistant; Dr. Norris Polk – Medical director

The mission of the DCHC Healthy Teen Center is to provide community-based primary and mental health care services, health education, information on preventive and safety behaviors to youth aged 10-21 and up to age 26 for individuals with special needs; to offer a multifaceted array of services that will be accessible and available, confidential, culturally sensitive and age-appropriate with comprehensive health care planning; to promote awareness and involvement with healthy lifestyle choices and encourage youth to take responsibility for the care of their health; to provide counseling and peer-group involvement to deter them from unhealthy behaviors, and to expose youth to health care as a career choice.

Thanks for including RX for Reading Detroit in the incredible work you do for teens in our community!

The Core of STEM is Reading!

Thank you, United Children and Family Head Start, for inviting RX for Reading Detroit to your Math and Science Open House!

Math and Science Open House

UCFHS knows that reading is the foundation of ALL learning.  Every year, families and teachers from their eight Head Start programs come together to celebrate their children and highlight their discoveries in math and science.

Kamari, rocking fashion and his new Sesame Street Book

This year, RX for Reading Student Coordinator Sara Zawacki helped 260 children pick new books to take home.  Talk about a day of reading and learning!

Linda Wesley, Community Relations Manager for Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, stopped by.Math and Science Open House 3


UCFHS kids know: READING IS A SUPER POWER!

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It Takes a Village

Thank you AmeriCorps, The LEAGUE Michigan​, and the Read n’ Give​ project for your support of RX for Reading Detroit​!

Maya Faison and Erik Krieger, two incredible members of the AmeriCorps VISTA program, delivered and sorted 1,700 BOOKS to be distributed through RX for Reading Clinic Libraries.  Many of the books were donated by students and teachers across the city of Detroit, and now they will find new homes with kids and families in our community.

Individuals and community partners working together for literacy is what RX for Reading is all about.

Maya and Erik Read

Thanks, guys!

Never Doubt.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”       Margaret Mead

The idea behind RX for Reading Detroit is simple. Literacy is a human right. Every child should be surrounded by books.

UDM student Alyssa Burgess reads with the kids at Emmanuel.

UDM student Alyssa Burgess reads with the kids at Emmanuel.

Over the 2014-2015 academic year, RX for Reading distributed 7,546 new and gently used books to kids and community partners in Detroit. We raised $6,500 to purchase new books in English and Spanish. We built 12 RX for Reading Libraries in low-income health and dental clinics, 4 classroom libraries for local Head Start programs, and our first RX for Reading Little Free Library in Gesu Community Green. We partnered with 6 Head Start and elementary classrooms for shared reading between college students and younger students, and over 50 UDM undergraduate and graduate students were involved in growing the organization—running book drives, sorting and cleaning books, setting up libraries, and reading with kids in our community.

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We are grateful for the incredible work of our community partners, for the generosity of our donors, and most of all, for each and every child in our community.

Together, we are raising readers, one book at a time.

Support Our Work Through Our Virtual Book Drive:
http://supporters.firstbook.org/goto/rxreading

 

We are nourished by food and books!

In Leo Lionni’s classic children’s book Frederick, the hard-working mice collect grain while their companion Frederick daydreams.  Initially angry with his laziness, the other mice realize Frederick’s value when he offers his crop of words and images late in the winter.  His poetry nourishes them.

FrederickWe are very happy to announce our first RX for Reading Library at a WIC Clinic, hosted by the Arab American Chaldean Council at 111 W. 7 Mile.  Here mothers and children will receive nourishment for the body and for the mind.

Little Allison picks her new book!

Little Allison picks her new book!

The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program assists in meeting the nutritional needs of expectant, breast feeding and postpartum women, infants, and children through age five. Program services include nutritional education and counseling, supplemental nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, infant formula for babies up to one-years-old, health screenings, lead poisoning education, lead testing, hemoglobin testing, and referrals for additional services. WIC is a health and nutrition program that has demonstrated a positive effect on pregnancy outcomes, child growth and development.

Thank you to the ACC for inviting us to be part of the work you do for our community!

Thrive by Five!

Thank you Southwest Solutions for inviting RX for Reading to their Thrive by Five Community Open House!  Thrive by Five is a federally-funded, early childhood education program designed to help families break the cycle of poverty.  It incorporates Early Head Start and Head Start programs for children from birth to five and wraparound services including family support, parental skills training, and health and social service support and referrals.

UDM Assistant Professor of Psychology Erin Henze and UDM graduate and undergraduate students Kristen Hnatio, Nancy VanRaemdonck, Heather Bishop, Sandybel Quintana, Erika Turak, and Renesha Smoot Grafton represented RX for Reading at the Community Open House. They distributed over three hundred new English and Spanish-language books to children and talked with parents about strategies for reading with children and promoting literacy.

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Thank you to Southwest Solutions for inviting us and to our incredible donors who allow us to provide new books for children in our community!

What Happens When College Students and Preschoolers Read Together?

Every Thursday, University of Detroit Mercy undergraduates visit the morning and afternoon classes at Emmanuel Head Start, a short drive from the Detroit Mercy campus.  After reading out loud with the kids, they help all of the Emmanuel students pick out a new book to take home to read with their families.

The kids adore UDM freshman Renesha Smoot-Grafton, whom they call "Nesha"!

The kids adore Detroit Mercy freshman Renesha Smoot-Grafton, whom they call “Nesha”.

The idea behind the Rx for Reading Head Start partnership is to bring together students at the very beginning of their education and students towards the end of theirs through the shared love of reading.  Preschoolers get to see that reading is a lifelong activity, one they will do every day when they are the college kids.  College students get to take a break from the stress of studying to remember the pure joy of reading and the excitement of discovering a new book.

UDM Business major Anna Mindling reads Doc McStuffins with the kids at Emmanuel

Detroit Mercy Business major Anna Mindling reads Doc McStuffins with the kids at Emmanuel

Families get to share in the excitement when the preschoolers bring their new books home.  We bring a broad selection of books each visit so the kids are empowered to pick out books that they are excited to read.  According to the head teacher at Emmanuel, Mrs. Kimberly Ogletree, parents have reported that their children have been read their new books so often that the preschoolers can “read” them back to their parents!

What happens when college students and preschoolers read together?

Magic.

Nuestros Ninos: RX for Reading at Covenant Community Care

We are proud of our partnership with Covenant Community Care!  Their Michigan Avenue clinic serves many Spanish speaking families, so RX for Reading established a Clinic Library with English, Spanish, and bilingual options for children as well as English and Spanish educational materials for parents.

Many thanks to Covenant pediatrician Betsy Cherian, MD and Clinic Manager Claudine Mamo, RN and to University of Detroit Mercy undergraduates Casey Rhines and Nic Combs for setting up the library.

Special thanks to En Nuestra Lengua Literacy and Culture Project for their generous donation of Spanish and bilingual books!  En Nuestra Lengua is a no-cost Saturday Spanish-language academic program that brings together the local community, Spanish-speaking children, their families and veteran educators—all working as a team to counteract the significant Hispanic academic achievement gap.  The families in En Nuestra Lengua donated hundreds of books to RX for Reading which allowed us to build our RX for Reading Covenant Library.

Nuestros NinosCovenant Community Care

RX for Reading at the Arab American Chaldean Council Behavioral Health Clinic!

Thank you to the Arab American Chaldean Council for hosting our latest RX for Reading Clinic Library in their Behavioral Health Clinic on 7 Mile.  The space is lovely, and as soon as the library was up and running Chastity picked out her book–Young Harriet Tubman–to read and take home!

Many thanks to University of Detroit Mercy undergraduates Joe Gifford and Sara Zawacki for setting up the library and to the Director of Behavioral Health for the ACC, Carmen Sarafa, MA, LPC.

The ACC Behavioral Clinic Library

Chastity Reads "Young Harriet Tubman" while her mom looks on

Thank You to Bryant Middle School!

We would like to give a HUGE thank you to Bryant Middle School in Dearborn for donating over 1,500 children’s books to RX for Reading Detroit! The Bryant Student Council organized and held a book drive throughout March to promote literacy and celebrate March is Reading Month.  The students also collected financial donations, which were donated to the RX for Reading Virtual Book Drive.

Special thanks to the students who led the event, to Bryant teachers Lynda Mualem and Liz Magee, and to the many families who participated!

Our Latest RX for Reading Library at Nolan Family Health Center!

We are thrilled to announce our latest RX for Reading Clinic Library at the Nolan Family Health Center in Highland Park!  All kids who come to the clinic are invited to read books in the waiting room and pick a book to take home.  A starting collection of 275 books fit on this bookcase–RX for Reading will deliver more as soon as they are needed.

Thank you to Detroit Community Health Connection and Clinic Manager Dahlia Lyons for helping us make it a reality!

Nolan Family Health Center

Pictured from left to right: Dina Bolos, CSR; Dahlia Lyons, RN; Shania Hughes, LPN; Joy Jackson, LPN.

Experience “Alexander” in the theatre AND raise money for kids’ literacy in Detroit!

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Experience “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Day” in the theatre AND raise money for kids’ literacy in Detroit! A portion of all RX for Reading ticket voucher sales will go to purchase books for kids in our community.

Every ticket we sell earns money for RX for Reading—enough to purchase one new book with each kid/student ticket sold and five new books for each adult ticket sold.  The show is for kids age 3+ and adults.  The first 1,000 kids who attend the show will receive a free copy of the book. 

Alexander opens March 20 and runs 10 performances through March 29 in the University of Detroit Mercy Grounds Coffeehaus in the UDM Student Center!
 
March 20 and 27 at 7:00 pm
March 21 and 28 at 10:30 am, 1:30 pm and 5:00 pm
March 22 and 29 at 2:00 pm

For more information about the show visit the UDM Theatre Company at theatre.udmercy.edu.

To purchase these special RX for Reading ticket vouchers, contact RX for Reading at 313- 993 -1081 or readingdetroit@gmail.com. 

The process is simple:
You purchase ticket vouchers from RX for Reading with cash or a check ($20 for adults, $10 for kids and students).  You call the theater to reserve spots at the performance you want to attend; when you get there, trade in your voucher for the ticket!  Group discounts are available.