Community Impact Education Pathway Faces of Success: Karolyn Broussard
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Faces of Success: Karolyn Broussard

If you are a parent, think back to the first few hours after your son or daughter was born. There’s a high likelihood this period of time was a complete blur. Thankfully, volunteers like Karolyn Broussard are there to help parents who are transitioning to life with a new baby.

“Many of the parents I meet already know about the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program,” said Broussard. “They appreciate the fact that we save them time and trouble by signing their baby up.”      

Broussard is one of the many volunteers at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital who are enrolling children in the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program, operated by United Way of Metropolitan Nashville in partnership with the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. It provides one book per month to children from birth through age 5 in Davidson, Williamson and Sumner Counties at no cost to families, regardless of income.   

“For people who don’t know about the program, they are amazed that it is available at no cost to families. I also talk to them about the value of reading to their child and their child’s readiness for school by the time they have received all 60 books.”

Participants enrolled at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital receive their first book before they go home, provided through a United Way partnership with the Saint Thomas Foundation and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation. One additional age-appropriate book arrives in the mail at their home every month. Broussard encourages the parents she meets to read aloud to their children.

“I have tutored third and fourth graders before. It’s easy to identify the children who don’t have books in the home. Unfortunately, they tend to struggle throughout their early years. Reading books to a child encourages them to love books and reading.”

Research indicates that children who are read to regularly at home hear twice as many words every year and have 1/3 larger vocabulary by age three than children who are not read to at home. This is important because children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years. Broussard has a grandchild enrolled in the program and sees the value it offers children in her community.

“If parents read books to their child, they will recognize words and begin reading before they enter kindergarten. Children need a good knowledge of reading and comprehension to perform well in school.”

Sometimes, life with a new baby is a complete blur for parents. Volunteers like Broussard make it easy for them to enroll their new son or daughter in the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program.

For more information about the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program, please click here.       

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