Together We Ignited a Spark! LINC and SBH Health System Raise Healthy Readers in The Bronx


It’s official. LINC’s newest literacy zone sits alongside a pediatric waiting area stocked with books and is open for readers! On Friday, August 26, 2022, Literacy Inc. (LINC) and SBH Health System joined forces to create early literacy spaces and programs inside the state-of-the-art SBH Health & Wellness Center with one goal, to Raise Healthy Readers in the Bronx.


Launched with love and one big pair of scissors, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Eric Applebaum welcomed LINC with open arms at a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Speakers included LINC’s Chief Program Officer Laura Walsh and Chair of the Board, Carlos Rodriguez, Vice President of Community Affairs at SBH and proud LINC board member, Victor Pichardo, as well as Councilmember Oswald Feliz.* Along with Assemblymember Yudelka Tapia, all were thrilled to announce their commitment to raising awareness about the importance of literacy from birth, connecting healthy bodies and healthy minds. Heartfelt remarks were made by LINC’s Very Involved Parent (VIP) Julia Hernandez, a long time member of the Fordham community, and LINC’s Director of Special Projects, Corey Saxton.


Corey noted that this collaboration was the brainchild of LINC’s Family Engagement Specialist Majida Gouriech (formerly a LINC VIP). Four years ago, Majida told Corey that her dream was to merge literacy and health to reach members of this Bronx community. What resulted is a multi-faceted partnership which includes read while you wait programs, literacy kits for newborns, and books to build home libraries.


Limited literacy is a barrier to accessing crucial health information, proper medication use, and utilization of preventive services. Individuals with limited literacy face additional difficulties following medication instructions, communicating with healthcare providers, and attaining health information — all of which may adversely affect their health.


Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Literacy Inc. parent volunteers from the Bronx distributed free books and hosted an outdoor reading program in the rooftop garden. The special guest reader was Robert Vasquez, Director of Marketing and Communications at SBH and author of children’s book Next Stop, Yankee Stadium. This delightful program was the beginning of LINC’s plan to hold additional literacy events and educational workshops for parents in the fall.


Thanks for sharing the gift of reading with the families in our community. We have received some amazing feedback from the parents, doctors, nurses, and the kids since we’ve started with placing books in the reading nook and the exam rooms. One mother told me it makes the short wait in the waiting room entertaining for her 2 year old. He can pick out multiple books and browse the pictures and tell his mother the story. The doctors and nurses say having the books in the exam rooms has a calming effect on the kids as they use the books as props to relieve any fears the young children have about coming to the doctor. The icing on the cake is that the children get to take the books home. Overall, this collaboration has been a hit! Together we have ignited a spark! -- Janine Adjo, MD - Chair, Department of Pediatrics, SBH Health System


A dream come true! We are grateful to our colleagues at SBH, our funders, our families and our staff. Together we mobilize community resources to make the magic happen - a partnership that will raise healthy readers in the Bronx!


To register for LINC’s latest literacy programs visit: www.lincnyc.org/onlineprograms.