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Pawnee Service Unit’s Reach Out and Read Program

Program Type: Local Effort - Programs and/or activities that have not been evaluated but are identified by local programs as producing positive results.

The purpose of the Pawnee Service Unit’s Reach Out and Read Program is not about teaching our young Indian children to read early, but is about helping them to grow really motivated, loving books, associating books strongly with the pleasure of spending time with their parents. At the Pawnee Service Unit, when a child comes in for a Well Child Exam- the Pediatrician encourages reading and each child goes home with a new book. There are certain aspects of reading development that can be thought of as the literacy equivalent of a vaccination towards Health. The goal here is to promote Wellness and Family Attachment. The Pawnee Service Unit’s Reach Out and Read Program are based at both the Pawnee Indian Health Center and at the Pawhuska Indian Health Center. According to a leading expert on Mental Health, John Bowlby, believes that for Good Health that it is essential for the infant and young child to experience a warm, intimate and continuous relationship with their mother (or permanent mother substitute). According to John Bowlby, with the comfort and security of a stable and routine attachment to the mother-or other primary caregiver- a child is able to organize other elements of development in a coherent way. In contrast, instability in the care-giving relationship—whether physical distance, erratic patterns of parental behavior, or even physical or emotional abuse—may interfere with the sense of trust and security, potentially giving rise to anxiety and psychological problems later in childhood or even decades later in life. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study1has revealed that the roots of Medical Problems are from Childhood Psychological Trauma. The Ace Study has shown us that Adult Risk Behaviors such as smoking, overeating, substance abuse or promiscuity are often Masks for other Problems. As children witness multiple adult dysfunctions, they will cope by overeating, smoking, becoming promiscuous or using drugs and alcohol. This all leads to poor physical and mental health later in life. One way to foster attachment for our families is simply by supporting our reading program. We can help our children to grow up loving books & stories in a strong association with the pleasure of spending time with their parents and families. So far, our reading program has brought in more than $25,000 in funding or book donations and has given out more than 2,000 books. Program sustaining grants include 2 large book distributions from the First Book National Book Bank over the last 3 months.

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Name: Brady Englestead M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.A.P.
Site or Location Name: Pawnee Service Unit Reach Out and Read Program
1201 Heritage Circle
Pawnee, OK 74058
Phone: (918) 762-6530