The POWER Initiative has announced its partnership with all three Midland/Odessa hospitals, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Midland Memorial Hospital will join previous partners, Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center, in the reading initiative partnership.
POWER is an overarching plan to try to “connect all the touchpoint and through lines from birth to kindergarten or prek,” said Adrian Vega, executive director of the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin.
The POWER Initiative falls under the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin. Vega said it gives “structure and focus to how we’re aligning all our resources. The whole goal is to improve kindergarten readiness. We’re literally starting at birth.”
For each child born at these three hospitals in 2021, their families will be given a POWER bag, containing a CDC Milestone Moments Baby Booklet, a POWER Brochure, POWER Tip Sheet, Baby’s Busy Day Book, Scholastic Baby Book, POWER Magnet, Power Toy Keys, and articles on brain development and reading to your child, a news release said. POWER stands for Power of Words and Early Reading.
MCH and ORMC POWER bags will include the “O is for Oil: ABCs of Odessa” Book. MMH Power Bags will include the “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” Book. Between the deliveries at MCH and ORMC in 2020, nearly 4,000 POWER bags have been given out. With MMH now joining the initiative, there will be approximately 5,600 POWER bags delivered to the hospitals, the release said.
Research has shown that there is a major word gap in words spoken and the types of messages conveyed between children born into poverty and children born into working-class or professional families, the release said.
Recent data has shown that more than half of kindergartners in Midland/Odessa were not kindergarten-ready when they started school. POWER believes that kindergarten-readiness begins at birth, years before children start school. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage our community to read, speak, and interact with children, as frequently as possible, beginning at birth.
Many community members and organizations have joined forces to make this project possible including: The Education Partnership of the Permian Basin, Odessa Regional Medical Center, Medical Center Health System, Children’s Miracle Network at MCHS, Midland Health, Midland Memorial Foundation, Basin PBS, Educate Midland, Midland County Public Library Foundation, Born to Read, Ector County Library, Midland ISD, Greenwood ISD, Chevron, Education Foundation, First 5 Permian Basin, Frost Bank, ECISD, Sewell Family of Companies, Junior League of Odessa, Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, XTO Energy, UT Permian Basin, United Way, and the West Texas Food Bank.