The Avedis Foundation has just issued a $6,000 grant to provide books for children through a partnership with the Pioneer Library System and the Oklahoma Department of Health.

The Avedis Foundation has just issued a $6,000 grant to provide books for children through a partnership with the Pioneer Library System and the Oklahoma Department of Health. Libraries in Shawnee, McLoud and Tecumseh are involved in the project.

Goals of the project include distributing 2,200 books to toddlers and young children throughout Pottawatomie County.

Children receive books when their parents bring them to the Pottawatomie County Health Department for vaccinations, well-baby checks and other medical needs.

There is an emphasis on targeting low-income families, such as those with mothers involved in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), who are less likely to be able to provide books to their children.

Anticipated outcomes include children engaging in reading, learning new health and hygiene practices and becoming better prepared to start school.

“We are honored to assist in their effort to help infants and young children in Pottawatomie County start their lives with books and healthy habits,” Tracy Meeuwsen, Avedis program director said.

As a result of this partnership, nearly 1,600 books have been distributed so far, according to Avedis.

“The children and parents coming to the Pottawatomie County Health Department feel excited when they learn they actually get to keep the books and take them home,” Pioneer Library System Development Officer Amber Cole said. “We are glad to help children get a healthy start in life, and tremendously appreciate the support of the Avedis Foundation in making this program possible.”

According to Avedis, this program won the Oklahoma Public Health Association (OPHA) Public Health Program of the Year award.

To support the project, donations may be made directly to the Pioneer Library System.

According to Avedis, its mission is to measurably improve health, wellness and the quality of life for the people of Pottawatomie County and surrounding areas.

For more information about Avedis, visit avedisfoundation.org or call (405) 273-4055.