Dawnbreakers Challenge Community With 1,000-book Gift to Tanner ReadER
Posted Date: 1/23/2013
The Carrollton Dawnbreakers Rotary Club donated more than 1,000 children’s books for young visitors to the Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton Emergency Department.
The books were given in celebration of Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton’s emergency department and surgical services open house on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and to launch the Tanner ReadER program. The program strives to improve local literacy rates by making books accessible to area children to foster an interest in reading whenever possible.
The Dawnbreakers challenged the community and other civic organizations to join them by bringing new or gently used children’s books to Saturday’s open house, or to make a financial donation to the Tanner ReadER program. All who donate a book at the open house will receive a small gift in appreciation.
In Georgia, 17 percent of adults lack basic literacy skills, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. These adults struggle to perform even the most basic of concrete and simple tasks like reading a set of instructions. Illiteracy costs Georgia $7 billion annually in lost wages and reduced productivity and costs.
One in four Georgia children lives in poverty and 61 percent of low-income families have no children's books in their homes. The Tanner ReadER program will provide age-appropriate books to every child who visits the Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton emergency department, with plans to expand to Tanner’s other two regional, 24-hour emergency departments in the future. These books will give parents an opportunity to share an escape with their child into a story, away from the trauma or illness that made the hospital visit necessary.
Tanny the Turtle, the Tanner ReadER program’s mascot, will promote reading to children and parents visiting Tanner’s emergency departments and to others in our community as he travels to area schools, events and organizations.
“I can’t tell you what this means to receive these books,” said Tom Fitzgerald, MD, a board-certified emergency physician and medical operations leader for the emergency department at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. “It’s kind of overwhelming, but then, that’s why I live in Carrollton.”
The Tanner ReadER program is the vision of Dr. Fitzgerald and his colleagues at Carrollton Emergency Physicians, and is made possible by donations to Tanner Medical Foundation.
“Early exposure to books leads to increased concentration in school, a wider vocabulary and curiosity about the world,” said Dr. Fitzgerald. “Books feed a child’s imagination, and a good imagination is necessary for scientists, engineers, doctors and every other career.”
After hearing Dr. Fitzgerald speak about the program at a Rotary meeting, the Carrollton Dawnbreakers Rotary Club began their six-month book drive with a goal of challenging the community to match or even exceed their donation. Literacy is one of six areas of focus for Rotary.
“No less than 100 people donated books, including the 57 members of Dawnbreakers Rotary,” said Robin Custard, president of Carrollton Dawnbreakers Rotary Club. Friends, co-workers and others throughout the community donated books after seeing messages posted on Facebook.
“We’re excited about the expansion finally opening after the flood,” said Custard. “We challenge the community and other civic organizations to celebrate with us by bringing books to the open house this Saturday.”
“We are grateful to the Carrollton Dawnbreakers Rotary Club for their inspiring support of the Tanner ReadER program,” said Denise L. Taylor, senior vice president and chief community health strategy and brand officer for Tanner Health System. “These books will really make a difference to the children who receive them, whether they are a patient themselves or here to accompany a family member. This is such a wonderful gift to the community.”
To learn more about the Tanner ReadER program, please visit www.TannerReadER.org or contact Tanner Medical Foundation at 770.836.9871.
About Tanner Medical Foundation
Tanner Medical Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the services of Tanner Health System through the philanthropic efforts of the community. Tanner Health System serves the healthcare needs of west Georgia and east Alabama.