When a child learns to read, regardless of their physical or mental limitations, their world no longer has boundaries. Reading can transport us to places we might only dream of visiting, or provide adventures we can only imagine. Read to Sydney is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help children with and without disabilities learn to read, and make reading more fun for beginning readers. When a child reads to one of our certified therapy dogs, there is no judgment, only patience and quiet acceptance. Reading to therapy dogs helps elevate a child’s self-esteem; it also provides comfort, reinforces learning, motivates speech and teaches positive and appropriate social behaviors. Autistic children and children with learning disabilities become much more open to learning while interacting with trained and accredited therapy dogs.
Since 2011, Read to Sydney has contributed to the well-being of children and others in the community in many ways. Every year, our outreach grows, thanks to the generous support of donors who believe in our mission.
Some of our most notable accomplishments in 2019 include:
· Monthly library visits to provide opportunities for any child to read to the dogs
· 40+ school visits to give children the chance to interact with therapy dogs in their classroom, while listening to a story. At each school visit, every child is given a book of their own to keep. So far this year, that has amounted to nearly 3,000 books!
· Expanded hours at Sydney’s Reading and Learning Center, a place where children can visit with, and read to, the therapy dogs, as well as participate in events designed to be inclusive for all. The center is ADA compliant and autism-friendly.
· Awards for Outstanding Community Service from the South Lake Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis of Clermont.
And as an extension of our outreach services,
· Monthly nursing home visits during residents’ pizza parties to give the elderly an opportunity to interact with the dogs. Science has proven that petting a dog (or cat) lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals . Your generous donation will fund our mission.
Learn more about our upcoming events, fundraisers, and more!