FOREWORD: Reach Out and Read Colorado’s Fall Newsletter

View our fall 2020 newsletter here >


Dear Reach Out and Read Colorado community,

As fall settles into our beautiful state, I appreciate the opportunity to share how the challenges of COVID-19 have affected Reach Out and Read Colorado. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our team has worked hard to adapt to clinics’ changing needs and priorities, to ensure that we maintain a high level of service and support in a rapidly changing environment. Just as clinics reinvented themselves in order to safely continue to see patients, so did our team flex and shift, to support providers, site coordinators, partners, and each other.

Currently clinics report 80% or higher volume, returning to a more normal number of well-child visits. We deeply value our partnership with every one of our providers, our 2,160 medical champions statewide. Because of their unwavering commitment, we know that thousands of under-resourced children are still receiving early literacy guidance at a time when so many other community- or school-based resources remain shut down. Across the state we have heard from grateful families who value the guidance providers share and take comfort in the sense of normalcy that a daily practice of spending time together with books delivers. We are proud to be able to provide a simple yet tremendously effective way to lower stress levels and build resilience, while nurturing a love of reading in these critical early years of brain development.

Despite many challenges, silver linings abound!

First and foremost, our stakeholders continue to show up and show up strong. Funders have expressed support and flexibility. Volunteers created workarounds to help safely. Board members are doing more than ever to help tackle our toughest challenges. Staff culture is thriving, despite a still largely virtual work environment. And we’re growing our support base through stewardship and outreach, thanks to donors who continually demonstrate their commitment to the Reach Out and Read program.

During these challenging times, we re-imagined our workdays, with a steady focus on program fidelity and support. We used our time wisely, tackling projects that support evaluation metrics, operational efficiencies, and in particular, scenario planning, in order to be best prepared for what is to come in an uncertain year. We’ve embarked on numerous new partnerships as well, with organizations serving similar vulnerable populations, in order to put gently used books into the hands of families living in our highest-need communities. 

Most exciting, however, is the news that we’re adding a much-anticipated program enhancement called Back To Birth, which you will learn all about on the following pages. After a successful pilot program in 2018, we couldn’t be more excited to add Reach Out and Read to three additional well-child visits – now beginning at birth!

Lastly, please accept my most heartfelt thanks for your continued generosity, which has helped us remain strong through this very challenging time. Your support directly impacts thousands of children in need. We know this pandemic will not last forever, and we are so grateful to be able to continue to execute our mission and support the families we serve, despite these temporary hurdles.

With gratitude,

Anne Tengler
Executive Director
Reach Out and Read Colorado

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