October 22, 2014

70 Years, 70 Locations, 70K

Sally Ann Zoll, ED.D and C.E.O. of United Through Reading attended the recent World Leadership Conference of  USO in D. C. She shares an update of the event and insight to our partnership with them.

Did you know that the USO has been helping American troops and their families for over 70 years? And did you know they provided 2.4 million free telephone calls (that’s 20 million minutes) to our deployed troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait?

And a really important “did you know”… Did you know that that the USO hosts our United Through Reading Military Program at more than 70 locations around the world? In 2010, troops made more than 70,000 United Through Reading recordings at USO host sites! And did you know that in the 2010 TARP (customer service research firm) Survey of over 7,000 active duty, family members, and volunteers, United Through Reading’s Military Program was rated the most valuable service at USO locations by 89% of service members and their families who participated in our program? Did you know that service members who participated in United Through Reading’s Military Program at USO locations were satisfied 81% of the time with their experience which is the most highly rated program or service among USO offerings?

Because we work so closely with the USO, I knew the amazing things that they do. But I learned so much more at the USO Leadership Conference held in Washington DC at the end of March. My colleagues, Kara Dallman and Cathy Jackman joined me at the conference where we renewed old acquaintances from around the world and made new friends. These are men and women who are putting their personal lives on hold to go and support our Troops by working at a USO in Iraq, or Sasebo, Japan, or FOB Shindand in Iraq. They are lifting the spirits of Troops and their families in a myriad of ways, including making it possible for deployed moms and dads to read a children’s book while being recorded onto a DVD.

So while United Through Reading works with hundreds of commands worldwide; while we support Navy ships, Coast Guard deployments,  Marines, Soldiers, and National Guardsmen; while we provide pre-deployment recording operations for submariners and Special Forces; while we do ALL of that – the USO helps us reach even more Troops through their 70 centers hosting the United Through Reading’s Military Program.

So on behalf of all of us at United Through Reading, a big shout out to our USO friends and all of our partners for doing their share to help us bring mommy or daddy home for the night with a cherished storybook!

Please Join Us

Greetings from our CEO, Sally Ann Zoll, Ed.D.

United Through Reading. Uniting families for 22 years around the world through the power and bonding of reading storybooks together, although separated by miles.

Stories: bedtime stories, story books, story tellers, ghost stories, “it’s the same old story”, or “that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it”.  There are many synonyms for the word story but none of them elicit the emotion, the memories, the anticipation, like the actual word story. Stories are familiar, comforting and entertaining.
A little girl was asked what love is. She said, “Love is when my mom reads me a bedtime story. True love is when she doesn’t skip any pages!”

So many stories, so little time. Reading storybooks takes time. I worry that we are too busy, too worried, trusting video games and T.V. to take the place of real time story telling or storybook reading to our children. And what about those who want to invest in the time to read a story to their favorite little person but geography separates them?
We know the wisdom of telling our children stories, of reading storybooks over and over again. In reading these stories together, we touch a place of commonness among us which weaves us all into a family.

So welcome to READ! our blog. Join us at the table as we talk about our vision – that all children will feel the security of caring family relationships and learn to love reading. Join us at the table as we talk about our mission – uniting families facing physical separating through the bonding experience of reading aloud. Join us as we go about our business of listening to, telling, and remembering stories told to us by the most special people in the world. And we promise we won’t skip a page!