Friday, March 9, 2018 1:39 PM

Birney Elementary Read Across America Day

Community Medical Centers really stepped up to the plate to promote reading to Birney Elementary students last Friday. To commemorate the national Read Across America campaign honoring Dr. Seuss, schools throughout the country celebrated a week of silly costumes, activities and fun — all to encourage reading.
When the Birney Bears program director requested volunteer readers from Community to read to Birney classes, the answer was an easy YES!

Birney Elementary, in the heart of Fresno, is representative of many of our city schools — a diverse student body serving mainly low-income families.

It was touching for me and our other volunteers when pictures of students’ smiling faces were shared from a recent trip they took to Barnes and Noble in North Fresno — for many, it was the first opportunity they had to visit a bookstore.

Birney teacher Robert Garcia said the students’ trip to the bookstore was, “like visiting Disneyland.”
The school’s Birney Bears program has received national attention from corporations like Nike® for their physical fitness walking and running programs.

Most recently, the school was one of three MVP national winners of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s WORD UP Challenge for reading over 60 million words and more than 14,000 books!
Our volunteers visited Birney classrooms and read to students from preschool to sixth grade and even a hard-of-hearing class. I heard a lot of great comments from our Community staff like, “This was the best way to end the week” and “That was so much fun!” And of course, ‘’Sign me up for next time!”
I think it’s safe to say that our volunteers received so much more than we gave! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Craig Wagoner
Clovis Community Medical Center
Community Regional Medical Center