'United Through Reading' Program Available

21 Apr 2007 | Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

ABOARD THE USS BONHOMME RICHARD (April 21, 2007) – Marines and Sailors deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism during WESTPAC 07-1 are now able to participate in the United Through Reading program.

BHR’s Chaplain’s Department began offering the United Through Reading program April 10, and will continue throughout the deployment. The United Through Reading Program is a Department of Defense-wide program designed to connect deployed military parents with their children at home through 30-minute video recordings. 

“Over the last 16 years, the United Through Reading program has been helping military families stay connected by addressing the separation issue they face daily,” said Kate McDevitt, United States Navy Program Manager for United Through Reading.

“This quality-of-life program allows deployed military parents to bond with their children and to establish positive habits in the home while instilling the joy of reading in children.”

“Through our military program, United Through Reading, it is our hope that military personnel and their children can stay connected through the ‘read aloud’ process.”

The bonding only happens, however, if deployed parents take active steps to participate.

The process begins when Marines and Sailors sign up for a 30-minute block of time with unit Religion Program Specialists. During the time, personnel are given a children’s book and absolute privacy – save for a video camera. The video recording, a standard DVD (mini-sized), is then mailed home to the child where he or she can spend time with Mom or Dad on a daily basis. The DVDs may appear small, but can be played in any standard DVD player.

BHR’s United Through Reading Coordinator, ET1(SW) Sandra Campbell, said the program is available to anyone who has a child in their life whom is near and dear to their hearts – including extended family members. 

“It is not limited to personnel who have children or who are married; it can be utilized for those who have little cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, young brothers or sisters. The ages of the children aren’t a limiting factor either,” she said. 

For more information about United Through Reading, visit the program's Web site at www.read2kids.org/uniting.htm.

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit