DaVita® Stories

Birmingham Center Teammates Help Kids Get Excited About Reading

There was more than a little magic in the Magic City past all this fall thanks to the efforts of the staff at DaVita Dialysis Birmingham Center and community-wide coordination from Better Basics.

“In October, teammates from our facility – Clinical Coordinator Angelia Berry, Nurse Candice Harris and Social Worker Lori Goodwin – volunteered at Better Basics,” explained Erica Svendsen, Facility Administrator. “They read books to the children there and had the opportunity to give a book away to the kids.”

Better Basics, founded a quarter of a century ago, is a non-profit organization that provides literacy intervention and enrichment programs for students in Birmingham, Fairfield, Leeds, and Midfield City Schools, as well as Clay and Talladega County Schools in Birmingham, Alabama. Their programs help children learn to read, comprehend, retain and learn.

“Last fall, we held our annual one-day event – Birmingham Reads,” said Amy Howe, Better Basic’s coordinator of volunteers. She explained that Birmingham Reads is an annual event that Better Basics sponsors and is the largest children’s literacy event in the community.  Better Basics recruits and places more than 600 volunteer readers (reading role model) in every pre-k through fifth grade class in The Birmingham City School System.  A volunteer reader reads an age-appropriate book to a classroom, engages the class with a reading comprehension question, and finally presents each student with the book to take home and add to their own library.

On October 19th, at 1 p.m., the 600+ volunteers – including DaVita teammates at Central Park Elementary – joined classrooms throughout the community and read to the children.

In addition to volunteering at Better Basics, the DaVita Dialysis Birmingham Center also made a donation via the DaVita Way of Giving program.

“We made the decision as a team to utilize DaVita Way of Giving to donate $950 to the program,” said Erica. “DWOG gives us a great opportunity to help this local organization – an organization that we’ve given our time and effort to support.”

The magic that DaVita Dialysis Birmingham Center handed out was simply a combination of caring, compassion and time – a combination that Better Basics appreciates. “This is an amazing community-wide volunteer experience,” said Amy, adding, “DaVita teammates volunteered their time to help children become excited about reading. They’ve been a great help to us.”

Steve Hammack

Steve Hammack

Steve Hammack lived the DaVita Way in Village Communications for more than five years, retiring (sort of) in 2017. He now travels, golfs, lifts weights and spends as much time as possible with his four grandkids – and he still enjoys trying to live the DaVita Way (part time).