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Front row, from left: Shelby Bellen and Amanda Hoffman of Believe in Books. Back row, from left: Lucy Williams, practice manager; Heather Phillips, community health program coordinator; Dr. Wenda Saunders, pediatrics; Zach Sevigny, registered nurse. (MEGAN PENNY PHOTO)

CONWAY — Children through age 5 will now receive a complimentary, new book at each well-visit to Mount Washington Valley Rural Health Primary Care at Memorial Hospital.

This program is being provided courtesy of past golf tournament sponsorships and private donations made to Memorial Hospital’s Childhood Wellness Initiative Fund.

This “Healthy Readers” book distribution is a program founded by the non-profit Believe in Books Literacy Foundation.

The initiative stems from the organization’s Books from Birth program, which provides children with books at no cost, during important developmental stages in life.

“We are excited to bring the Healthy Readers Program to Primary Care,” said Heather Phillips, community health coordinator at Memorial Hospital. “One of the goals of our population health programs at the hospital is to address the social and economic factors that affect health outcomes in the community. Early literacy, through programs like Healthy Readers, helps to set children up for success.”

Along with a free book at each visit, children will have the opportunity to sign up for the Books from Birth Program and have books mailed to their home, courtesy of Believe in Books.

“We appreciate Believe in Books, who introduced the Healthy Readers program to Memorial Hospital, as well as our past golf sponsors and donors to our Childhood Wellness fund, whose generosity is making this program possible,” said Melody Nester, director of development. “It’s a wonderful example of how our community members help each other; local young children and families will get better starts in life as a result of local collaboration and generosity.”

To learn more about Memorial Hospital, the Childhood Wellness Fund and Population Health programs at Memorial Hospital, go to memorialhospitalnh.org or call (603) 356-5461.

For more information about Believe in Books Literacy Foundation, go to believeinbooks.org.

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