SAINT THOMAS RUTHERFORD HOSPITAL TO ENROLL NEWBORN BABIES IN TENNESSEE’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY PROGRAM

SAINT THOMAS RUTHERFORD HOSPITAL TO ENROLL NEWBORN BABIES IN TENNESSEE’S IMAGINATION LIBRARY PROGRAM

Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties,
and Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital partner to enroll newborns in Rutherford Books from Birth Imagination Library program

NASHVILLE – Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) and Rutherford Books from Birth’s local sustaining partner, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, celebrate the launch of a new birthing hospital partnership with Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital Tuesday afternoon to begin enrolling newborn babies into Tennessee’s Imagination Library program.

Through this partnership, each family of a newborn child will be given the opportunity to enroll in Tennessee’s Imagination Library and will then begin receiving one book per month mailed to the child’s home, at no cost to the family. Each child enrolled in the program prior to hospital discharge, will receive a gift of the first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could, as a tangible example of the wonderful books that will arrive each month until the child reaches age five.

Tennessee’s Imagination Library program is made available to all Tennessee children, from birth to age five, through a unique, three-way partnership between GBBF, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and a local affiliate program in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties. To emphasize the benefits of reading with children beginning at birth, GBBF launched the birthing hospital initiative in 2014, partnering with hospitals across the state to introduce Tennessee’s Imagination Library program to families of newborns. This local partnership with Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital was made possible by a generous grant from the Christy-Houston Foundation.

“Literacy and reading proficiency are essential for a child’s education and future, and early exposure to books has been proven to be a key factor in long-term educational success,” GBBF President Theresa Carl said. “Our goal is to have partnerships with birthing hospitals like Saint Thomas Rutherford all across the state of Tennessee, giving children the chance to experience the joy of books and reading from the moment they enter this world.”

“We are so proud to be partnered in this invaluable effort which will present the youth of our community with tools to launch their education and imagination,” said Gordon Ferguson, President and CEO, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital. “We’re honored to support the mission of GBBF, the Imagination Library and the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, and we’re excited to inspire the newest members of Rutherford county with a love for reading.”

The mission of the Christy-Houston Foundation is to enhance the quality of life in Rutherford County, Tenn., with emphasis on health care, through distribution of its grant resources to programs and projects that will accomplish such enhancement. The Foundation recognizes that the quality of life is greatly enhanced when young children have the opportunity to learn to read at a very young age.

“The time that parents spend with their children reading to them and encouraging their child’s own reading skills as they get older enriches their life and gives them confidence in their own abilities,” said the Christy-Houston Foundation. “Christy-Houston is particularly excited about partnering with St. Thomas Rutherford, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, and the Governors Books from Birth Foundation in ensuring that every child born at St. Thomas Rutherford, regardless of economic station in life, will be enrolled and receive The Little Engine That Could before they are discharged from the hospital.”

Rutherford Books from Birth began in 2006 and has delivered more than 1 million books to children in the community. Currently, 57.6% of all children under age five living in Rutherford County are enrolled in the program and receive books each month. Each month Rutherford Books from Birth delivers more than 11,000 books to children.  

“This partnership is at the heart of our mission, which is to improve lives by advancing opportunities for education, health, and financial stability for all,” said Meagan Flippin, CEO of United Way of Rutherford & Cannon Counties. “Literacy is a key factor in an individual’s success in life, and the opportunity to provide the Books from Birth program in Rutherford and Cannon counties through United Way is a responsibility we take seriously. The support of and partnership with Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and the Christy-Houston Foundation leverages our ability to reach more families and ensure that more children start kindergarten on a level playing field.”

About GBBF
The mission of Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation is to sustain and strengthen Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in all 95 Tennessee counties, ensuring that new, age-appropriate books are mailed to Tennessee’s preschool children, at no cost to the family and regardless of income. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org or www.facebook.com/TNImaginationLibrary, or call toll-free at (877) 99-BOOKS.

About United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties
The mission of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties is to improve lives by advancing opportunities for education, health and financial stability for all.  As the Rutherford Books from Birth sustaining partner, United Way enrolls children, promotes the program in Rutherford County and raises funds for half of the cost of books and mailing. To learn more about the United Way, visit www.yourlocaluw.org.

About Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital
Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital is a member of Saint Thomas Health, Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united under the common mission of one healing community. With more than 7,000 associates, Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the health care experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes – Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, Saint Thomas West Hospital and Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville – and a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension Health, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, please visit www.sths.com or www.strutherford.com.

About Christy-Houston Foundation
Founded in 1986, the mission of the Christy-Houston Foundation is to enhance the quality of life in Rutherford County with an emphasis on healthcare by distributing grants to programs and projects with a similar goal. The Foundation formed after the sale of the Rutherford Hospital to Saint Thomas Hospital and Baptist Hospital.

###