Pediatric literacy volunteer program returns

April 9, 2024

Pediatric Literacy Program’s New Chapter 

Over the past twenty years, Venice Family Clinic’s Pediatric Literacy Program has done more than just instill a love of reading in our youngest patients. The program plays a crucial role in supporting comprehensive pediatric care and encouraging the development of communication, problem solving and relational skills. 

 A Holistic Approach to Pediatric Care 

When a child is learning to read, they’re also learning much more. Research shows a clear link between collaborative reading and a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Reading with adults helps children build key skills such as problem solving, curious thinking and empathetic communication. 

That’s why we’ve partnered with the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation for more than a decade to provide our patients with brand-new, age-appropriate books they can take home. In 2023 alone, the program distributed over 7,000 books to our pediatric visitors. “The kids love the books,” says Katherine Palencia, a patient services representative who’s been working with pediatric patients at our Lou Colen Children’s Health and Wellness Center for over five years. “They’re always coming up and asking if we have anything new!” 

Storytime Returns 

The Clinic’s pediatricians routinely encourage families to incorporate story time into their routines to support their child’s development. They also give books to their patients during visits to support this healthy habit. Now, we are thrilled to announce that we are reintroducing volunteers to read to patients in the pediatric play areas at three clinic locations: Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, Lou Colen Children’s Health and Wellness Center, and Chuck Lorre Rose Avenue Health and Wellness Center. After removing books from shared spaces during the pandemic, we will once again have books in our pediatric waiting areas, and volunteers will be on hand to read with our youngest patients and help nurture their imagination and development while they wait for their appointments. Children can still get a book directly from their clinician; or if there’s one they like in the waiting room, they can take that one. 

Volunteer Services Coordinator Anthony Holliday is excited about the shift. “By reading and playing with the children, our volunteers also help ease some of the anxiety that the kids may experience when coming to see their health care provider. They make sure our clinics are welcoming places and help kids see their visit as a positive experience,” he explains. 

Get Involved Today 

We are currently seeking volunteers interested in joining the Pediatric Literacy Program. Volunteers receive specialized training to equip them with the skills needed to promote literacy and provide emotional and developmental support. “It’s a great opportunity to get experience working with kids and really make a positive impact,” says Holliday. 

If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please email and RSVP for an upcoming Volunteer Information Session.