Congratulations and thanks, to Dr. Dan Foster and the YMCA

Dr. Dan Foster of Charleston is winner of the 2018 Spirit of the Valley Award, given by the YMCA of Kanawha Valley.

Dr. Dan Foster of Charleston was recognized by the YMCA with the 2018 Spirit of the Valley Award for his four decades of work in health care and public service in the Kanawha Valley.

The award comes with a donation, made in the recipient’s name, to a non-profit organization chosen by the recipient. Dr. Foster chose Read Aloud West Virginia.

In his remarks at the award luncheon, Dr. Foster talked about his mother and how she shared her love of reading with him. He pointed out that both the YMCA and Read Aloud have an impact on the lives of children.

Read Aloud West Virginia seeks to improve West Virginia’s literacy rates and educational attainment by motivating children to WANT to read. Read Aloud’s research based programs — Volunteer Readers, Book Distribution, Public Education and Classroom Enrichment — put books in the hands and on the minds of West Virginia’s children.

The 501(c)(3) organization also raises community awareness regarding the importance of reading to children from infancy into adolescence and the value of providing children with a print-rich environment. During the past school year, Read Aloud distributed more than 8,300 books and placed 1,113 volunteers in over 1,652 classrooms across 30 counties in West Virginia.

These volunteers serve as live commercials for reading. The readers are also important role models who allow children to experience the joy of reading and, in so doing, motivate them to become proficient readers. Once equipped with this essential skill, students experience more success in all subject areas and are better prepared for a promising future. Students who develop good reading skills tend to go further in school, to have higher lifetime earnings and even to enjoy better health.

Read Aloud thanks the YMCA for recognizing Dr. Dan Foster’s service and commitment to the Kanawha Valley. The organization is tremendously grateful to be allowed to share in Dr. Foster’s honor as his non-profit designee. Recognition from those so dedicated and accomplished as Dr. Foster and the YMCA strengthens our own commitment to serving our mission in the Kanawha Valley.

Among the many congratulatory messages compiled for the booklet printed for the August award ceremony was this one from the John L. and Maude H. Dickinson Family:

“Thank you for making West Virginia your home and for making our community a better place to live.”


NGK supports Read Aloud, local communities

NGK Spark Plugs (U.S.A.), Inc. recently announced they will become a corporate sponsor of Read Aloud West Virginia. A $3,000 contribution in 2015 is the first in what is anticipated to be a multi-year partnership.

The company joins ECA and BrickStreet as ongoing sponsors.

“NGK is proud to partner with Read Aloud West Virginia in an effort to increase reading capability in our schools,” said NGK Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Bob Pepper.

“High education standards are critical to the success of our state,” Pepper continued, “and Read Aloud WV’s program is vital to that effort.”

Read Aloud Executive Director Mary Kay Bond noted the donation is both a show of support for Read Aloud and a clear indicator of the company’s dedication to the well-being of West Virginia’s communities.

“NGK’s corporate partnership enables us to continue our efforts to build program consistency around the state. It also underscores the company’s commitment to the citizens of West Virginia,” noted Bond.

Read Aloud WV is very grateful to NGK for their vote of confidence.


Family honors patriarch’s love of reading, golf

The Paul Fox Memorial Foundation has given Read Aloud West Virginia $4,000, which the Fox family raised at its Memorial Golf Tournament in May. The family started the event in memory of Paul Fox, who was an avid golfer. He also was an avid reader, a trait that influenced future generations of the Fox family and ultimately resulted in their gift to Read Aloud.

The event attracted 112 players. BrickStreet was the lead sponsor.

Son-in-law David Walker explained, “Paul was an avid golfer. He got me into golf. He also was an avid reader. He was not a college person, but he was an unbelievable reader. It rubbed off on my girls. My oldest daughter Kinsey went into philosophy (an area of strong interest for Fox.)” She joined Teach for America and now is pursuing a degree in education policy at Vanderbilt University.

Walker, who has a degree in education, read aloud in his daughters’ classrooms for 10 or 12 years at Richmond Elementary in Charleston, and he is occasionally asked back to read even now. The teachers need men to serve as reading role models, he said.

Walker’s wife, Kathleen, and daughters Kinsey and Karley all have been volunteer readers and attended Seuss-A-Palooza events at BrickStreet, where Walker is employed as a safety and loss consultant, and then Read-A-Palooza at Paterno’s at the Park in Charleston.

That exposure led Kinsey to ask her father, “Why don’t we make a donation to Read Aloud West Virginia?” which they did.

The importance of a strong grandparent-parent-child connection exemplified by the Fox-Walker family is one that Read Aloud emphasizes through its parent education program, Director Mary Kay Bond said. Parents and grandparents remain the primary influence in creating lifelong readers.

“That is a crucial link,” she said. She plans to expand Read Aloud’s efforts in this area with physicians and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program.

“The Fox contribution is an incredible gift,” Bond said. “It gives us flexibility to more easily tailor programs to chapter needs.”