Honorees for 2015 Benefit and Auction Announced

By Reach Out and Read of Greater New York on May 11, 2015 in Blog, News
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Reach Out and Read of Greater New York Announces Annual Honorees for 2015 Benefit and Auction

Reach Out and Read Program Manager Emelin Martinez to Receive Literacy Champion Award and Author and Illustrator Joyce Wan to Receive Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy 

April 1, 2015, New York, NY — Reach Out and Read of Greater New York (RORGNY) announced that Emelin Emelin Martinez Headshot circleMartinez, Reach Out and Read program manager at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Network (ACN) and Joyce Wan, children’s book author and illustrator, will be honored at the Reach Out and Read of Greater New York 2015 Benefit and Auction to be held June 1 at Three Sixty° in Manhattan.

Martinez will receive the annual Literacy Champion Award, given to leaders in the Reach Out and Read community who go above and beyond to serve their communities and promote literacy to children in need. In her nine years of leadership, Martinez has grown the program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital to serve more than 10,000 children and families.

“This award motivates me to continue to go the extra mile to promote early literacy in our community by distributing the many donated books we receive to all of our ACN sites” Martinez says.

To maximize the impact of ROR’s mission, Martinez has facilitated trainings for first-year medical residents in addition to a network of community members who serve as program volunteers at several sites. She has also worked to build the capacity of community-based organizations to help improve childhood literacy rates in low-income, mostly immigrant neighborhoods.

To complement these efforts, Martinez created the Health Education and Adult Literacy (HEAL) Program, a volunteer-based initiative that trains pre-med and medical students to serve as volunteer patient educators in the aforementioned clinics.

“The Reach Out and Read program works time and time again,” Martinez asserts. “As a former teacher, I saw that students who were reading above grade-level typically had parents who read to them at a very young age.”

Joyce-Wan-circle-300x300Joyce Wan will receive the Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy, founded by Helen Mills and Gary Tannenbaum, long-time advocates of children’s literacy. The award recognizes children’s book authors dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children.

“Coming from very humble beginnings myself, I consider myself a product of all the free books I received as a child,” Wan says. “Those books made an impact on me in terms of jumpstarting my love of art and children’s literature. I wholeheartedly support the mission Reach Out and Read — it’s an honor to receive this award.”

Wan is an author-illustrator of several award-winning books for children, including You Are My Cupcake (Scholastic), We Belong Together (Scholastic), and The Whale In My Swimming Pool (FSG), which was a Junior Library Guild Spring 2015 selection. Sleepyheads (Simon & Schuster), written by Sandra J. Howatt, illustrated by Wan, was most recently chosen as a CCBC 2015 Children’s Choice Selection.

Wan designed her first greeting card when she was in first grade for a city-wide greeting card design contest. The design won first place and was sold through a major department store chain. Twenty years later that design would inspire her to launch Wanart design studio. Today, products featuring Wan’s designs are sold worldwide.

When she’s not working on books, she teaches courses at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. Joyce lives with her husband in New Jersey. Through all her work, Wan hopes to inspire people to embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.

The Reach Out and Read Annual Benefit and Auction will take place June 1 from 6-9pm. Click here to become a sponsor, buy tickets, make a donation, and learn more about the event.

About Reach Out and Read of Greater New York: Studies show that reading aloud has an impact on brain development and language acquisition as early as six month of age. Reach Out and Read of Greater New York prepares young children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. RORGNY provides books, training and support to 202 program sites in 13 counties in the Greater New York Region. The organization has trained 5,500+ doctors, nurses and volunteers in the Reach Out and Read model and distributes nearly 400,000 free books to a quarter-of-a-million children each year. .

For more information and for resources for parents and physicians visit reachoutandreadnyc.org.

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