New York, NY – Over 100 educators, parents, medical professionals, government officials, and leading education experts gathered at the Helen Mills Event Space in Midtown Manhattan on June 15 for Growing Healthy Readers: Building Bridges to Grow Healthy Readers, an annual conference hosted this year by United Way of New York City, Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, and Colgate-Palmolive Company.
Speakers, moderators and panelists at the conference included Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City, Nicole Gallant, SVP and Chief Impact Officer, United Way of New York City, Ralph Smith, Managing Director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Laurie Williams, Executive Director, Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, and Dawna Fields, National Program Manager, Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures. Chris Caruso, Executive Director, Community Schools, New York City Department of Education, keynoted the event.
“Convenings like this are critical if we aim to impact the lives of children living in our City’s most-challenged communities,” said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. “I am so grateful for the partnership of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York and the Colgate-Palmolive Company, and their commitment to bettering the lives of New York City’s youngest readers.”
The half-day conference covered the challenges, successes and factors at play in growing and cultivating healthy readers in New York City and the networks and collaborations needed in order to achieve this goal. Panelists focused on the need to merge corporate relationships and philanthropy to address barriers to growing healthy readers, integrate academic and medical research on early childhood brain development to impact growth in young minds, and bridge the gap between schools, families and the community to create a culture of literacy that supports learning both inside and outside the school.
“When we look at corporate partnerships, we need to continue to identify those companies whose social responsibility efforts are, not only closely aligned with the mission, but the outputs too. By joining forces we can double our impact,” said Dawna Fields, National Program Manager, Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures. “At Colgate we have found that the power of a bright smile helps to make a difference in children's lives, strengthen communities, and creates healthy readers.”
“Far too many young people in our city are falling further and further behind,” said Laurie Williams, Executive Director, Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. “It is imperative that we collaborate across boundaries to fulfill our shared vision for the success of every child.”
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About United Way of New York City
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been a trusted partner to government, corporations, and community-based organizations for nearly 80 years. Serving low-income New Yorkers, UWNYC’s collective impact approach enables the diagnosis of neighborhood challenges and the design of solutions to expand education, financial stability, and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers while also driving policy change that is guided by measured results. UWNYC envisions caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. Learn more at www.unitedwaynyc.org.
About Reach Out and Read of Greater New York
Reach Out and Read of Greater New York gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Each year Reach Out and Read gives books and early literacy guidance to 275,000 children and their families in New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.
About Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures
Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® is among the most far-reaching, successful children's oral health initiatives in the world. With long-standing partnerships with governments, schools and communities, Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® has reached more than half a billion children across 80 countries with free dental screenings and oral health education.