StayWell Health Center has  been named an official Reach Out and Read site. Under the leadership of pediatrician Dr. Upulie Nawaratne, StayWell is excited to be embarking on this new initiative.

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to young children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. StayWell will also enhance their waiting rooms to be literacy friendly, promoting reading for all ages. Additional donations of books are welcome to support these efforts.

Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age. Reach Out and Read serves 4 million families annually, who read together more often, and whose children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills and a six-month developmental edge over their peers.

Joanne Reynolds-Balanda responded to the news by stating “The United Way of Greater Waterbury congratulates StayWell Health Center for supporting the expansion of the Reach Out and Read Program to the families they serve. It is a wonderful opportunity to encourage parents to be their child’s first teacher and read aloud to young children, one of the best activities to stimulate oral language development that is essential in preparing children to be ready for school.” This literacy work fits is in alignment with the literacy efforts being led by the United Way in hopes of improving the literacy level of our students in Waterbury.

StayWell is grateful to the financial supporters who made this Initiative possible: including the Jewish Federation Foundation, Holy Cross High School Students, Read to Grow, Chase Collegiate School and Miles for Smiles.
StayWell Health Center, a Community Health Center founded in 1972, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization located in Waterbury. StayWell provides medical, dental, mental health and social services at six Waterbury locations. In 2011 StayWell served over 20,000 people from the greater Waterbury area.

For more information about StayWell’s Reach Out and Read program, to donate books, hold a book drive or volunteer for the program, please contact Jill Schoenfuss, Grants Manager at 203-756-8021 ext. 3113 or