Reach Out and Read — And Touch a Young Child’s Heart  

What began as a team-building opportunity has become a part of the hearts of some of Memorial Regional Medical Center’s nurse managers.  

“It is such a wonderful experience to see a child's eyes light up when they walk through the door and see the books,” said MRMC Nurse Manager Donna Morris about the Bon Secours Richmond Reach Out and Read (ROR) program. “They will take their time looking through all the books before selecting that special one they get to take home. And what a great warm feeling it is when you read to a child. I feel I getting much more than I am giving.”  

MRMC Teams Take the Lead

Morris is part of a team of nursing leaders at MRMC that have teamed up to volunteer through the Care-a-Van at Ramsey United Methodist Church. Morris’ partners, Renee McKeel and Misty Freeman also speak of their wonderful experience with the ROR program.  

“It is such a rewarding opportunity for us. We have been blessed to have an employer that supports our work in the community,” said Freeman, Administrative Director for Cardiovascular Services.  

MRMC leadership teams began volunteering for ROR more than a year ago.  

“It began as a team building activity and has grown to a huge satisfier for our leaders, and the staff are starting to get involved,” Freeman said.  

McKeel, also a MRMC nurse manager added, “This is a completely gratifying and humbling experience that can really make you appreciate what you have.”  

What is Reach-Out-and-Read?

ROR is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy by making books a routine part of pediatric care.   At Bon Secours Richmond, ROR is part of the Care-a-Van program, as well as Memorial Regional Medical Center and Richmond Community Hospital. The programs provides free books and reading experiences for young children. Volunteers transform the sites into literacy-rich areas for children and parents, while helping families learn the joys and the techniques of reading aloud.  

An evidence-based practice, research on ROR, conducted by the national organization, reveals that it is having a direct effect on literacy development:

  • Improving children's ability to express themselves verbally.
  • Increasing children's listening vocabularies.
  • Reducing the number of children with language delays that can prevent them from succeeding in school.  

About Volunteering

Volunteers come from all walks of life but have two important traits in common: a love of books and stories and a genuine interest in helping children. Volunteers read to children and show by example that reading aloud is enjoyable for both parents and children.   Volunteers, must generally be over age 18, and able to commit to one three-hour shift per month.   For information please call (804)545-1940.