JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Employees with a Region 8 bookstore have partnered with area doctors to help children with literacy.
Barnes and Noble in Jonesboro held a Holiday Book Drive in November and December, with customers being encouraged to purchase a book for a child as they checked out their items.
On Monday, doctors with UAMS Northeast showed up bright and early at the store to collect the donated books to take back to their clinic.
Dr. Justin Allen is a third-year family medicine resident with UAMS Northeast.
Dr. Allen said the book drive was a huge hit the year before and they were thrilled to get to participate again.
"We were really excited about being able to get these books again this year," Allen said. "This is a big deal for our clinic. Every time we have a child come in the clinic they get to leave with a book. Without this program, we wouldn't have that opportunity."
Dr. Allen said you can tell this means a lot to both children and parents.
"You can definitely tell it means a lot to them," Allen said. "We're obviously there for their physical health. But their emotional and intellectual health is important. And so, when they get to leave with a book, you can tell the parents really care that we care about the entire being of the child and not just the physical health."
Dr. Allen isn't the only one to observe this.
Dr. Amanda Jones, a resident physician at UAMS, said she can also tell people really appreciate the program.
"It makes a difference in our kiddos," Dr. Jones said. "Whenever they come to the clinic and they know they can get books. And they get a book every time they come to the clinic. Not just certain visits. Not only do they get a book, but if their siblings come they get a book too. So, we kind of turn it into a family affair. We encourage the parents to read to the children. We encourage the older siblings to read to the younger ones. And so, we really kind of promote literacy amongst the family."
Dr. Allen said it helps make the whole experience more pleasant.
"Going to a physician at any age," Allen said. "Especially young children is very scary for a lot of folks. And so, having a reward at the end of the visit really helps us out in the clinic to create more of a happier atmosphere."
Christopher Clark, Community Business Development Manager of the Barnes and Noble location in Jonesboro, said the response from the community was overwhelming.
"To see that our local community has such a passion helping our area kids," Clark said. "Really gives us a great experience that everyone can enjoy. This is a tremendous morale boost for everyone," Clark said. "It's very exciting. We work hard to partner with our community and our customers to try and get books in the hands of children and promote literacy. So, thanks to them we're going to be able to give the gift of literacy with our partnership with UAMS Northeast to our area kids."
They raised over 2,500 books for the children that will visit UAMS Northeast.
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