When youngsters visit ThedaCare Physicians Waupaca for an exam, they will now leave with a new book.
A thousand books were delivered to the clinic on Monday, May 6, by Alice Dombrowski, of Riverside Medical Center Auxiliary, and Andi Crane, who is the volunteer coordinator at RMC.
The books are for the auxilary’s new program, Prescription to Read.
Dombrowski, a retired nurse, is heading the project.
“Our auxiliary board believes this program will be a benefit to the community,” she said.
Last year, the auxiliary’s coordinator happened to catch an interview on a national news program about a clinic on the East Coast, which presented books to children when they were there for a well child exam or other visit, Crane expained.
“A physician or nurse gave them the book and asked the parent to read to the child,” she said.
Statistics show young children who are read to regularly by family members have boosts in increased literacy development, as well as social gains and an increased likelihood of later overall school success, Dombrowski said.
The auxiliary’s board liked the idea, and so did the local health care administrators.
Then, the planning began.
Dombrowski learned almost 900 children from infant to 5 years of age visit the clinic on an annual basis.
Prescription to Read is for children in that age group.
ThedaCare Physicians Waupaca staff members will give them one book a year.
The clinic’s electronic records will make it easy for physicians and nurses to note when a book is given to a child.
The auxiliary hopes a physician or nurse gives the books to the children.
Auxiliary members worked with Ellen Davis, owner of Dragonwings Bookstore in downtown Waupaca, and purchased 1,000 books for ages 6 months thruogh age 5.
Davis selected the books and included a sticker on each book which lets the physicians and nurses know the appropriate age for each book.
The auxiliary spent $3,400 on the project, with Davis giving the group a discount of about $1,200.
In addition, Davis donated $100 worth of books for the lobby area, Crane said.
The auxiliary also placed a sticker on the front of each book, letting families know the books were donated by Riverside Medical Center Auxiliary.
Each year, the auxiliary presents scholarships to high school graduates and to hospital employees, and the organization sees this new program as another way of encouraging learning.
“We’re hoping it helps kids do better. We will get posters made and out in the lobby so parents see them,” Crane said. “We were so excited, as was everybody we talked to. The books are cute. There is even one about a visit to a hospital.”