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Literacy Projects

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Banner and JOLI art by Dr. Tiffany Sheng.

The Hoekelman Center is a national leader for education in community health and advocacy with a focus on the social determinants of health. Literacy, as one of the most important social determinants of health, is an ongoing area of interest. We are currently working with community stakeholders to increase conversation about this topic as a civil right.

joliEmergent Literacy Projects

The Joy of Literacy Initiative (JOLI)

Literacy is critical for success in education. Unfortunately, racial and economic disparities in literacy begin long before kindergarten. This inequity affects millions of children nationally and is a particular problem in areas of concentrated poverty, like the City of Rochester. Even after one year of pre-K, only about 50% of Rochester children are ready for kindergarten.

JOLi Kit
With generous funding from the Wilson Pediatric Fund, Rochester Area Community Foundation, Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, the Brighter Days Foundation and other local donors we have spent the past 3 years:

  • Conducting semi-structured interviews with parents of children aged 1-5 years to assess their attitudes regarding early literacy
  • Testing acceptability and feasibility of the "Joy of Literacy Kits" (JOLI Kits) with 17 families at the Maplewood YMCA
  • Pilot testing the use of JOLI with 250 families at the Volunteers of America Pre-school in UPK, EPK and Headstart classrooms.

Facebook post YMCAOur JOLI Kit provides early literacy resources for the home that help very young children to learn about the alphabet through frequent exposure. The $100 kit includes:

  • ABC Books such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  • Foam bath letters and numbers
  • Wipe clean activity book
  • Leap Frog refrigerator magnets
  • Alphabots
  • Dry erase boards
  • Information on library programs and WXXI kids apps and games

Thank you to our partners and other caring contributors for making this happen for families in Rochester.
If you would like to learn more about this project reach out to:

Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Dolly Parton Imagination LibraryDr. Present had the opportunity to join the University of Rochester’s The Community Health and Advocacy Resident Education (CARE) Track. Through this time he was able to brainstorm a blueprint for how to bring Dolly Parton Imagination Library to Rochester zip code by zip code. Dr. Present has garnered the significant support from the community raising funds from 400 individual donors as well as ESL Credit Union, M&T Bank, and Canandaigua Bank along with local funders the Konar Family Foundation. With the funding attained, they have enrolled over 2,000 children and expanded from one single zip code to across the City of Rochester. He has built out a volunteer network of two dozen individuals who have helped to operationalize the expansion and partnered with local community organizations such as Connected Communities, the YMCA, the Society for the Protection & Care of Children, Ibero-American Action League , and most recent the Rochester City School District.

A bunch of booksReach Out and Read

Drs. Lara McHan and Jordan Patterson haved worked to increase exposure to literacy for families by establishing the national program Reach Out and Read at Culver Medical Group.

GOALS - Greater Opportunity After Literacy SupportGreater Opportunity After Literacy Support (GOALS)

GOALS is an umbrella organization that we work closely with. Its mission is to increase opportunities of literacy support locally to help children.