Born To Read (BTR)
December 2021 Issue
Part of Pink's "Making a Difference: 6 Women Who Care" Special Section
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography
Born To Read (BTR)
Mission: To promote early childhood literacy and oral language development, while helping new parents understand their critical role as their child’s first and most important teacher.
Location: office- 703 Bladen Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
Tell us about Born to Read. Who benefits from this program?
Born to Read is the only program in which volunteers visit new parents and their infants while promoting literacy at the beginning of the child’s life. Each baby is given a resource bag that contains information in both English and Spanish about the many resources available to them in Beaufort County. Because of our partnership with Beaufort County School District and the Beaufort County Library system, our organization plays a valuable role in giving parents literacy information. There are no other programs in the four county areas of Beaufort, Jasper, Colleton, and Hampton which seek to personally contact all parents where the mothers deliver their babies in the local area hospitals. As an all-inclusive program, BTR anticipates serving around 2,000 new mothers in these communities in the coming year.
Born to Read also offers free parent workshops four times a year throughout Beaufort County designed for children 18-months to 3 years old. Materials given are in both English and Spanish.
What is your role in the organization and how did you come to this role?
I am the Executive Director of Born To Read and have held the position for six years.
After moving to Beaufort, from Fort Worth, Texas, I wanted to volunteer and become active in the community. I was a retired educator, and this organization seemed a perfect fit. Soon after I signed up to volunteer, I was contacted by the Director offering me her job, as she wanted to take a full-time job in Hilton Head. I was offered the job after interviewing with the Board. It has been my great privilege and honor to work with Born To Read.
What brings you the most joy in being a part of this organization?
The people who I have had the pleasure to meet and the families we serve, as well as the volunteers and the community that willingly give of themselves to make a difference. I have never lived anywhere that the community strives to serve others as we do in Beaufort County.
Did Covid-19 affect the services Born to Read offers?
Born To Read, like many agencies, was greatly affected during the past 18 months by Covid–19. But, one of the most amazing things that happened, was the number of donors and grantors that reached out to make sure we had what was needed to continue to serve the families of Beaufort County. We are not a basic needs organization, but our supporters know that literacy is the backbone of society. It was very humbling in these uncertain times to know that we were needed in this community and our mission was important to so many.
Tell us the most important thing people should know about Born to Read:
I often tell people that we may be one of the smallest non-profits in Beaufort County, but we have the potential to be one of the most powerful. It takes very little to talk with a new parent about oral language and early childhood literacy. Helping parents understand that by age 3, a child understands 70% of the vocabulary he/she will use for conversation during their lifetime, and by age 4, 50% of a child’s intelligence is developed, is part of our mission to help educate young families. Giving parents the tools to help their children changes lives!
How can people get involved or help? Donations? Volunteers? Wish List?
As families continue to work together, it is more important than ever to provide parents with tools that are needed to promote early childhood literacy.