Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary Teams to Get 2000 Free Books to New Families

From Left to right: Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary President Rick Hillenbrand, St. Margaret’s Health Family Dr. Fazal Khan, and NCRBC Board Member Nick Nosalik display some of the books to be distributed to new families as an encouragement for early reading for infants.

Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary, in partnership with the North Central Regional Betterment Coalition, is providing 2,000 books to be distributed free by area pediatricians. The new books will be for families when they visit the doctor for both the infant’s 6-month checkup and their 1-year checkup. This expands an existing program which provides books and a reading advocacy pamphlet to new mothers when they are discharged from the hospital, and when they see the pediatrician for the 6-week well-baby exam.

IV Sunrise Rotary President Rick Hillenbrand says the club received a grant from parent Rotary District 6420, and combined club money along with funds from NCRBC to make the purchase. “We were happy to be able to make the purchase locally at Prairie Fox Books in Ottawa, and help our newborns get off to a fast start in life.”

NCRBC President J. Burt says, “the partnership made sense as Rotary has seven areas of focus, two of which are supporting women and children, and supporting education.”

The pediatricians and staff of both OSF St. Elizabeth and St. Margaret’s Health participate, so all families with newborns in the counties of LaSalle, Bureau, and Putnam can be recipients. Research shows when infants are exposed to words and verbal engagement in the earliest days of life, they tend to get ahead in verbal, cognitive, and instructional abilities.

Illinois Valley Sunrise Rotary President Rick Hillenbrand, 989-295-0014,

North Central Regional Betterment Coalition President J. Burt, 815-664-2600.