National Broadcast Showcases Reach Out and Read’s Work Preparing At-Risk Kids for Success in School

Sept. 27, 2014 — We joined with other organizations and individuals making a difference in the lives of American youth on American Graduate Day 2014 — a 7-hour broadcast on public television.

Watch our segment – below!


September 16, 2014 — New York, NY — Reach Out and Read will be featured on American Graduate Day 2014, airing live on Sept. 27th from 11am – 6pm on WNET Thirteen and WLIW 21 in New York City and on public television stations across the nation.  The 7 hour broadcast dedicated to education solutions that help at-risk kids graduate will include an interview with Reach Out and Read of Greater New York Executive Director Traci Lester, Wisconsin Reach Out and Read Medical Champion Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, and Melody Pink, a Brooklyn parent whose children benefited from the books and guidance provided by her pediatrician through Reach Out and Read.

Broadcast and streamed live from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center in New York City, the annual multiplatform event is part of the public media initiative, American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, helping communities bolster graduation rates through the power and reach of local public media stations. Featuring seven hours of national and local programming, live interviews and performances, American Graduate Day 2014 will celebrate the exceptional work of individuals and groups across the country who are American Graduate Champions: those helping local youth stay on track to college and career successes.  Wes Moore, best-selling author and U.S. Army veteran, will host the all-day broadcast.

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, will represent Reach Out and Read in the American Graduate Day broadcast.

Reach Out and Read will appear during the first hour of the broadcast, along with other programs dedicated to early childhood education, including Reading Is Fundamental and Sesame Workshop.  Reach Out and Read is a national nonprofit organization that partners with doctors to provide free books to families in need and to encourage families to read together for healthy brain development and to prepare children for success in school.  The organization’s reach is widespread: annually 4 million children are served by the program.

“We know that reading aloud to young children is one of the best ways to prepare them for success in school,” said Traci Lester, Executive Director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York.  “We’re excited to share the work of our medical providers and volunteers on American Graduate Day – these champions are on the front lines of early childhood development, making sure families have the tools to give their children a strong foundation for learning.”

Wes Moore - American Graduate Day

Wes Moore, host of American Graduate Day 2014

Hosted by Wes Moore, a bestselling author, TV personality (PBS/“Coming Back with Wes Moore” and OWN/“Beyond Belief”) and champion for youth, American Graduate Day 2014 is set up around critical themes with the goal of inspiring citizens to connect with their local public media station and local community organizations, and get involved as American Graduate Champions in helping the youth of their community succeed.

This year’s topics are scheduled to include Early Education, Caring Consistent Adults, More and Better Learning, Special Needs Communities, STEAM Programs, Dropout Prevention and Re-Engagement and College and Career Readiness.  The program also devotes time to areas not covered before, including the special needs community and the work of such organizations as Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics, and the importance of the arts in STEAM as a key component to More and Better Learning that can compel kids to stay in school, reflected in programs like Exploring the Arts and VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and more. In addition to “Stories of Champions,” other new features include live performances by The Raise Up Project, a spoken word group also being honored the following day at The Kennedy Center, and the Trenton Public Schools Marching Band.

Viewers and online users who are interested in connecting with local organizations and youth as American Graduate Champions can send a text on the day of broadcast or log on to to find out more about the national and regional organizations and how to help in their hometowns.   Viewers will also be invited to participate in the discussion via Twitter using the #AmGrad hashtag and on Facebook.


Wes Moore (PBS and OWN), Juju Chang (ABC), Rehema Ellis (NBC), Bianna Golodryga (Yahoo!), Lyn May (PBS), Hari Sreenivasan (PBS NewsHour Weekend), William Brangham (PBS NewsHour Weekend), and Lauren Wanko (NJTV).


Among the national organizations featured are: 4-H, America’s Promise Alliance, Autism Speaks, Best Buddies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Citizen Schools, City Year, Exploring the Arts, FIRST Robotics, Gateway to College National Network, Junior Achievement, My Brother’s Keeper, National Academy Foundation, The Raise Up Project, Reach Out and Read, Reading is Fundamental, Roadtrip Nation, Special Olympics, Samsung Electronics North America, Taco Bell Foundation, United Way and VH1 Save The Music Foundation


Tony Bennett and wife Susan Benedetto will be interviewed about Exploring the Arts; Gen. Colin Powell and Alma Powell  will be interviewed about their organization, America’s Promise Alliance; Brian Williams (NBC) and Jane Williams, daughter actress Allison Williams and son Doug Williams will be interviewed about their organization, Horizons National; Ingrid Michaelson (singer/songwriter) will give a testimonial about VH1 Save The Music Foundation; Edward James Olmos (Stand and Deliver, Miami Vice), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Olympic gold medalist) will appear on behalf of Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Miral Kotb (dancer/choreographer) will be interviewed about Girls Who Code; Andy Grammer (singer) will host the VH1 Save The Music Foundation segment.

American Graduate Day 2014 is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC in association with WNET. Michael Kostel is executive producer.  Colin Powers is broadcast producer.  Chris Brande is national segment producer. Helen Maier is co-producer. Anna Campbell is local segment producer. From the Education Department, Kimberly Mullaney is project manager and Carole Wacey is vice president, education. Neal Shapiro is executive-in-charge.

American Graduate Day is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen – a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help more kids stay on the path to graduation.

Visit the American Graduate Day Web site for more details on participating PBS and NPR stations as well as other television and radio programs:

Copyright 2018 Reach Out And Read Greater New York