The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development’s GrowSmart program has enlisted more than 120 volunteers to read at 31 preschools and child care centers in Virginia Beach on March 3. The program is part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day.
Each guest reader will spend up to an hour talking about the importance of reading, and reading a Dr. Seuss book, donated by GrowSmart, to the children. Each volunteer will receive a certificate of appreciation. Participating students will receive reading awards and other incentives.
“We have had tremendous interest in this program from our volunteer base,” said Karen Kehoe, GrowSmart coordinator. “We know the children will enjoy the guest readers and we hope this initiative will spur them to read more.”
GrowSmart promotes and improves the healthy physical, cognitive and social-emotional development for the prenatal to age 8 population in Virginia Beach. GrowSmart provides the tools and resources at the earliest age possible to ensure a well-educated and skilled workforce in the future. A significant GrowSmart initiative is the award-winning Early Education Small Business Training and Mentoring Program. Through this program, run by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Center, local businesses in the child care and early education industry receive business training and customized mentoring. They are also eligible for teacher scholarships and sponsorships in the Quality Rating and Improvement System. To date, the program has impacted more than 2,000 families and helped to create 35 jobs. Participating businesses have seen an average of 18 percent increase in revenue. GrowSmart has developed a complete resource center for Virginia Beach parents at vbparents.com.
The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 447,000, and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the best-run cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2012 and is one of only 29 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. For more information, visit www.yesvirginiabeach.com.
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