On March 1, Midcoast community volunteers read to over 3,000 Midcoast children in elementary school classrooms and child-care sites in 19 towns from Waldoboro to Brunswick during United Way’s annual Community Read Aloud. The event celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday and organizes hundreds of volunteers to share their love of reading with young children.
“This event is one that volunteers love to participate in year after year,” said Mary Gaul Wallace, United Way of Mid Coast Maine’s community engagement coordinator. “It is always nice to take a break from work and busy lives to spend some time interacting with our smallest community members. The children are always so joyful, and they appreciate having the opportunity to engage with caring adults that they may not otherwise get a chance to visit with.”
Volunteer Patty Lane, of Bath Savings Institution, said, “It is such a wonderful experience to share the joy of reading with the children. Their enthusiasm is energetic!”
Once again, Bath Savings Institution was the lead provider of Community Read Aloud volunteers, with 20 employees reading to children for the community event. There were also many readers from other local businesses, including Damariscotta Bank & Trust, Wayfair, Bath Iron Works, and Midcoast Federal Credit Union.
Many local city employees, including police and fire department employees, as well as hospital employees, participated in this event. Christine Anderson, vice president of patient care services at LincolnHealth, said, “Personally, it filled my cup that day. We read ‘Are You My Mother?’ and to see the attentive faces and the giggles when the bird asks the cow ‘Are you my mother?’ was just priceless.”
United Way is dedicated to ensuring that all Mid Coast children get the best possible start in life with the support of their families, and the whole community. National research confirms that reading regularly to young children is one of the best indicators of later success in school. Benefits of reading aloud include language exposure, vocabulary building, and positive adult-child bonding experiences. Reading aloud with young children also is great fun and helps children learn that listening to stories, creating stories, and reading themselves can bring great pleasure.
For more information on United Way, visit uwmcm.org. One can also find United Way on Facebook at facebook.com/uwmcm and see more photos and stories from this year’s Community Read Aloud event.
United Way of Mid Coast Maine’s mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. In partnership with thousands of donors, United Way works to improve education, financial stability, and health for people in Brunswick and Harpswell, Sagadahoc and Lincoln counties.