UBC MD students and their teddy bears build healthy communities

Co-founded in 2011 by UBC alumna Dr. Joanne Roussy, The Reading Bear Society is a non-profit citywide early literacy program, focused on educating the “heart-mind.” The initiative is led by a group of dedicated volunteers and supported by high school reading buddies as well as medical-student ambassadors.

Last Tuesday, about half a dozen medical student volunteers made their way to Queen Alexandra Elementary school in Vancouver to read to an enthusiastic group of Kindergarteners.  The boys and girls listened intently to Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”.

UBC MD undergraduate student, Andrew Purssell, and Julie Gelson and Melanie Moore, Queen Alexandra kindergarten teachers, discuss the success of the Reading Bear sessions.

“These children thrive with just that little bit of attention,” says Gelson, describing the immeasurable benefits of the one-on-one time her pupils receive from the volunteer medical students.

Purssell, sees the initiative as a great opportunity to develop meaningful connections in the city.  “Any time in life, it’s important to find ways to engage with your community.”

View more photos here.