The Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation (HANF) is continuing its support of Imagination Library for a second year in a row. With its contribution to Best Beginnings, the foundation funds Imagination Library for Alaska Native Medical Center newborns. HANF seeks to inspire a great start to a healthy life, in part by helping children be ready for learning and ready for school – and by enrolling newborns in Imagination Library.
HANF works in close partnership with ANMC’s Volunteer Services, whose volunteers visit with parents of newborns to fill out the enrollment form. Because the mothers and babies come from all over the state, Best Beginnings uses its statewide network of 29 Imagination Libraries to distribute the enrollments to the appropriate locale. Since that network now serves 100 communities, more often than not, these newborns have a local Imagination Library that adds them. And when they don’t, the registrations are saved until an Imagination Library is set up.
Right now, in fact, ANMC’s Bethel-area babies are hoping for an Imagination Library to launch in Bethel, the last major population center in Alaska without an Imagination Library. All that’s needed is for some local champions to step forward. (Interested individuals can contact Best Beginnings to get started.) Then the Bethel babies will be as lucky as the Valdez and Galena babies – seven of them were “waiting” and can just now begin receiving books.
As the charitable arm of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), HANF works to raise awareness and funding to further the Consortium’s “vision of making Alaska Native people the healthiest people in the world.”
“The Foundation is thrilled to support Imagination Library at ANMC,” Director Carrie Brown said. “Early literacy is an essential element in nurturing healthy babies, healthy adults, and healthy communities.”
It takes a team: ANMC’s Volunteer Services also hosts programs to help reading come alive for families. A major treat every year is the celebration for Read Across America Day for Dr. Seuss’ birthday. This year it will be held Friday, March 1 at 2 pm in the 2nd floor Maternal Child Health Lobby. Last year, they wowed the crowd with Hugh Neff, Yukon Quest winner, reading to children while wearing his Cat in the Hat striped hat. This year’s celebrity reader is still under wraps.