United for D.C. opens United Reads Reading Corner

WASHINGTON, D.C. - D.C. United players and other distinguished guests are set to appear at the grand opening of the first-ever United Reads Reading Corner located at the Children's Health Center in Southeast, D.C. The grand opening is set for Thursday, June 9 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Invited guests include Mayor Williams, Councilmember Marion Barry and the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton.

"The issue of literacy in our community is one that United for D.C., with the help of D.C. United, attempts to address through its United Reads program," said Catherine Marquette, Executive Director of United for D.C. and United's Community Relations Director. "By expanding the initiative beyond the classroom walls, where United Reads exists to date, United for D.C. will be able to spread the message that the ability to read is a skill that everyone needs to achieve and that one can have fun in the process of learning."

The inaugural United Reads Reading Corner will be outfitted with soccer-themed children's books and furniture as well as bookshelves, posters and a banner. United for D.C. received the majority of books it will donate through the team's United Children's Book Drive that was held at all home games during the month of May. United Bank will continue to collect books at every are branch through the month of June. In addition, United for D.C. receives individual and corporate donations to support United Reads, which encourages area youth to fall in love with the practice of reading. Through this Reading Corner alone, United Reads has the potential to impact over 5,000 children over the course of one year.

The goal of the United Reads Reading Corner is to provide a fun soccer-themed atmosphere where children and their families can read while waiting to visit their doctor, as well as to promote physical activity as part of a child's healthy development. The event and Reading Corner is in partnership with Reach Out and Read of Metro D.C., a physician-led early literacy intervention program. In partnership with Reach Out and Read, United for D.C. will help provide patients who visit Children's Health Center - Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue with new books and United Reads bookmarks and posters.

"In their clinical experience, doctors often find that many low-income children encounter learning difficulties in the early years of school," said Rachael Walker, Executive Director for Reach Out and Read of Metro DC. "Our early literacy intervention, working in partnership with United for D.C. and D.C., United will help grow healthy and fit readers in the nation's capital. The United Reads Reading Corner and the support of United for D.C. and D.C. United is going to make it more likely that parents will read to their children, an essential precursor for the development of school readiness skills, including language proficiencies and early literacy skills."

Reach Out and Read is a national program that promotes early literacy by bringing new books and advice about the importance of reading aloud into the pediatric exam room. During regular "well-visits" with pediatricians at Children's Health Center-Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, and 25 other clinics in the District, children ages six months to five years receive a new book. Additionally, health care providers demonstrate to parents how to use the books at home to help their child reach motor, cognitive, and language developmental milestones. Reach Out and Read creates reading corners in health center waiting areas throughout the District and trains volunteers to read aloud and share books with patients of all ages. In addition to supporting the Reach Out and Read program at Children's Health Center-Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, D.C. United through its United Children's Book Drive will also be donating more than 300 used children's books to Reach Out and Read of Metro DC to be used at other local health centers.

For more information on the United Reads program or to receive more information about any of United for D.C.'s activities or community relations activities of D.C. United, please contact Catherine Marquette at 202-587-5443 or cmarquette@dcunited.com or visit www.unitedfordc.org. For a list of United Bank branches in order to donate books to United Reads, please visit www.unitedbank-va.com/locations.asp.

United for D.C.

United for D.C., Inc. was founded on January 8, 2002 as the charitable arm of Major League Soccer's D.C. United. United for D.C. is a 501(c)3 organization chartered to serve the Washington, D.C. community through the creation or support of programs, events and organizations that advance educational and social welfare opportunities (primarily health and recreational) for the area's youth, particularly those who may be economically, physically or mentally disadvantaged.

Reach Out and Read of Metro DC

Reach Out and Read of Metro DC is part of a national program that believes giving books to children is not only a good thing to do, but is also an evidence-based strategy to promote health in primary care pediatrics. Reach Out and Read of Metro DC is a coalition of 26 health centers in Washington, DC, whose doctors deliver a full dose of early literacy to low-income children ages six months to five years.


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