July 23, 2014

USO and United Through Reading® Celebrate 250,000 Special Connections for Military Families Separated by Deployment

24-Hour “Read Around the World” global event marks a more than five year partnership of easing the separation of deployed parents: Google+ Hangout video showcases the program

In dozens of USO Centers, across multiple time zones worldwide, the USO and United Through Reading® will commemorate 250,000 recordings with a 24 hour Read Around the World day. The USO’s partnership with United Through Reading began in 2006 and affords deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children, which eases the stress of separation. The USO ships the recording and a copy of the book to the troop’s family back home. The family is encouraged to take photos of their children watching the recording and mail those back to their deployed service member to complete the circle of communication.

“Knowing that your child back home can see your face and hear your voice, following along while you read them a story, is a priceless connection that we are proud to be a part of,” said USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson. “The United Through Reading’s Military Program has a powerful impact and promotes lasting connections for families separated by deployment.”

United Through Reading, the nation’s first nonprofit to promote the read-aloud experience for military families, has been supporting our nation’s military since their founding in 1989. When a deployed mom or dad sits down and reads a book it brings back a sense of normalcy, relieving stress for those families at home.

“We like to call each DVD Mommy or Daddy ‘on demand’ because any time children miss their deployed parent they can pop in the DVD and see their parent read a story book,” said Sally Ann Zoll, Ed. D., chief executive officer of United Through Reading. “The morale of the whole family is boosted. United Through Reading is proud to celebrate the 250,000th DVD recording made at a USO location.”

The public can follow the progress of the day on uso.orgfacebook and twitter. Read Around the World will kick-off in Japan on November 19th 5pm EST and end on the West Coast of the United States 24 hours later. During this time, the USO is asking deployed parents to visit a USO Center to record a reading as well as asking military families to share their favorite United Through Reading memories, books and photos with the country on the USO and United Through Reading facebook and twitter pages using the hashtag #ReadAroundtheWorld.

United Through Reading and the USO have also partnered with Google to show how Google+ Hangouts can be used as another way for military families to stay connected when dispersed around the globe. The public can watch a deployed Dad stationed in the Pacific as he connects to his family in Hawaii via Google+ Hangout. Clickhere to see the video.

United Through Reading can be found at nearly 200 recording locations worldwide including more than 70 USO Centers. The 250,000 United Through Reading’s Military Program recordings is part of the 1.5 million beneficiaries that United Through Reading has served since their founding.

About READ! our blog

READ! is an online space where you’ll find the latest news and information on the nonprofit United Through Reading. The best part? It’s a place where we’ll be sharing your testimonials, photos, videos and more to create meaningful online conversations. Our aim is to share our passion – uniting geographically separated family members through the read aloud experience – and become a trusted source of information for those we serve which now number over one million beneficiaries. Our DVDs bring a family member home every night for a bedtime story. We invite you to enjoy and participate with us as we continue to build family connections.

Storybook moments: Recorded readings help deployed soldiers stay connected to their kids

Army Spc. Jeremy Ganz cleared his throat, turned the page and read for a 5-year-old who was nowhere in sight.

“`Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house …’”

With every page turned, Ganz pressed a button, each time recording the sound of his own voice as he read from the specially produced hard-bound book in a studio at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. more

2010 USO Gala in Washington, DC

Trisha Yearwood, pictured with Dr. Sally Ann and her husband Jim Zoll, at the USO Gala on October 7, 2010 in Washington, DC.

Sally Ann Zoll Guest Speaker on Army Wife Talk Radio

Sally Ann Zoll, United Through Reading CEO, was a guest speaker on Army Wife Talk Radio about how United Through Reading provides support in the lives of physically separated families. Click here to listen

Bedtime Stories From Marines to Children Back Home

CBS NEWS: Sergeant Sheda was reading the books out loud while looking into the lens of a small video camera … from the program, called “United Through Reading,” which begun in 1989. .. continue

The USO marked 100,000th recording of United Through Reading’s Military Program

The presentation took place on June 5 at the 2010 Patriotic Festival, a free, three-day event, on the Virginia Beach Waterfront, celebrating the military and featuring Uncle Kracker, Hall & Oates and Jason Aldean.

“We are extremely proud to reach this significant milestone, connecting deployed service members with their families despite the thousands of miles that separate them,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “Our partnership with United Through Reading is a great example of our mission to support military families, and this year’s Patriotic Festival is the perfect venue to celebrate this achievement!”

Photo: Marcia Ellis, National Program Manager for United Through Reading®, congratulates the USO and Jeff Hill, VP for Operations in the U.S., for achieving a historic 100,000th recording milestone.

Rory Sabbatini to participate in Birdies for the Brave on behalf of United Through Reading

A PGA TOUR Charities, Inc. program, Birdies for the Brave is the PGA TOUR’s primary vehicle for supporting the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Since 2005, the TOUR has joined with PGA TOUR players, corporate partners, TPC club members, fans and TOUR employees to raise millions of dollars for military home front groups that provide vital services and programs for military men and women and their families. more

Local Inmates Reconnecting with their Children through Reading

SANTA MARIA - A program originally designed to help deployed members of the military keep in touch with their families back home is now letting jail inmates do the same.

United Through Reading allows a parent behind bars to read a book to their child.

Your Central Coast News was there when this played out for a family Wednesday morning.

There were no words to describe how they felt being able to see their mom.

Everyone was silent when we put the DVD in the player, and when their mom popped up on screen and said I love you. You could see tears in their eyes. Click to Read Full Article.

Sailors Bring Back United Through Reading® Military Program Aboard Bataan

USS BataanBataan took full advantage of United Through Reading during the ship’s seven-month deployment that ended Dec. 8, but the high-tempo and the uncertainty about the length of the current surge deployment caused a brief delay in the return of Untied Through Reading.

“Service members have been requesting that the program start again. We didn’t have the program up and running when we left simply because we weren’t expecting to be gone this long,” said Religious Programs Specialist 1st Class Lunar Odhiambo, United Through Reading Active Duty Coordinator. “United Through Reading really helps reduce stress and separation anxiety for our service members and their families, while effectively building command and family morale.”

Participants are allotted 30 minutes to read a book of their choosing aloud while being recorded. Then the recording is put on a DVD for the service member to send home to their children.

The crew of Bataan has been underway in support of Operation Unified Response for nearly six weeks and is using United Through Reading to stay connected with their families back home.

“My children still have their dad present even though he’s far away,” said Jennifer Diezel, wife of Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Nicholas Diezel. ‘They get a bedtime story read to them by their dad.”

Besides helping to keep families connected no matter the distance or time period, Sailors and Marines appreciate knowing that the Navy has programs in place for difficult periods of separation.

Bataan is part of the Amphibious Relief Mission in support of Operation Unified Response in Haiti after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the island nation Jan. 12.

Grandparent Program’s 2,000th Beneficiary

Mary Thompson Hicks: Grandparent Program’s 2,000th BeneficiaryMary Thompson-Hicks, age 70, reads at the George Stevens Senior Center. Mary is a very enthusiastic participant in the United Through Reading Grandparent Program and has read and recorded three times for family members in Texas.

Mary was the program’s 2000th beneficiary, when she read for her teenage grandson. She chose to read poems that she thought might help him in life, “Attitude” and “Myself”, and during the reading invited him to call her if he had questions or wanted to talk about the poems. When talking about her family and the Grandparent Program, Mary said, “This program adds a new dimension to our relationship.”

Spike TV’s True Dads in Uniform

 Spike TV has partnered with the USO and United Through Reading® to help more than 100,000 deployed US soldiers and their families stay connected to their children back home by reading a story aloud on DVD.

Starting on Father’s Day, Spike TV’s True Dads  began sending camera kits to military units in Iraq and Afghanistan and other remote deployed locations that will enable thousands of service members to read a book and connect with their children back home.  Each of the donated kits includes a video camera, tripod, DVDs, packaging and mailing materials. Find Out More

United Through Reading Partners With The San Diego Padres

Padres PSAThe United Through Reading Military Program was the subject of two public service announcements (PSAs) airing during Padres games and on Cox Communications. The spots, which featured Chase Headley and Manager Bud Black, talked about what books they read to their children and the importance of the United Through Reading Military Program.

The San Diego Business Journal is a third partner in the promotion and agreed to run print ads featuring Black and Headley during the same time period.

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CTN: County Chronicles — Family Tree

Maintaining Contact with Incarcerated Family Members

(County Television Network)