This week’s literacy advocate is a heart warmer. Just yesterday the organization was given the Community Service Hero Award by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The organization is also a Promotion Partner for The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The organization works alongside plenty of other great charities that can be found on this page.
So, what is the title of this week’s literacy advocate? Drum roll please…
United Through Reading
United Through Reading was founded in 1989 by the wife of a Naval flight surgeon. The husband had to leave his wife and infant daughter for deployment and when he returned his daughter didn’t know him. The wife, having a master’s in education, decided to do something to help military families stay connected.
Here’s how UTR helps:
1) Deployed service members are recorded reading a book to their children. That video and book are sent home.
2) The child watches the video and follows along with the book.
3) The parent at home records their child’s reaction to the reading and sends that video to the deployed service member.
4) The deployed service member’s morale is boosted and the child is encouraged to read.
There are over 200 UTR recording studios worldwide. In 2015 alone, these studios helped almost 100,000 deployed service members make an emotional connection with their children while also encouraging their children to read.
This program boasts both educational and health benefits. 78% of parents observed an increased interest for reading in their child. 81% of those surveyed says that their child’s anxiety about the deployment decreased and 90% of service members say the program reduced stress during deployment.
If you would like to get involved with the organization, there are several opportunities. You can donate or you can volunteer. Some volunteer positions include:
1) Becoming a Program Advocate Scout wherein you can help scout /set up UTR studios in military communities
2) They also need creative writers for blog content
3) Critics help them select which children’s books to offer the service members
4) Production crew helps film the service members who are deployed but this category also refers to administrative assistance
5) And many more! They have even more ways to volunteer and if this is something that interests you, I encourage you to check out the online volunteer application.
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Have you heard of UTR or anything similar to it? Let me know in the comments below!