Military personnel and their families make sacrifices every day, especially when facing times of separation. A program called Daddy Read a Book helps parents bond with their children while deployed.
“Daddy Read a Book has a simple but important mission, to connect children to their parents during a time of absence by providing videos of the parent reading their child’s favorite books,” said Chris Cottrell, Daddy Read a Book founder. “Our videos keep families connected while also encouraging the educational benefits of reading to children.”
The program does more than just provide videos, it also helps boosts the morale and wellbeing of children.
“Often the memories that bring comfort and joy are memories of our parents reading to us or of times reading to our own children,” said Chaplain (Maj.) David Barns, 56th Fighter Wing deputy wing chaplain. “The video of mommy or daddy reading to their children reminds them of special times when they were physically together reading, which reinforces resilience and reminds children that while their parents aren’t home, they are loved.”
The program is free and easy to use.
“We are funded by donors,” Cottrell said. “This keeps it free.”
During a filming session parents are wired with a microphone, lights are set up and a Daddy Read a Book team member is there to record the video, Cottrell said. Parents are given an hour to read to their children. They can read their own books or the books provided by the program.
Once the recording session is over, the video is edited then shipped to the family.
For first-time Daddy Read a Book participant, Staff Sgt. Henry Alas, 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chief, being able to know his children can watch him read to them whenever they like is a relief.
“The program is great because it will help keep my kids strong while I’m gone,” Alas said. “I had some concern over my oldest son who’s 4, but now I’m more at ease since I know he can watch me read to him whenever he misses me.”
To schedule an appointment, call 623-856-6211. Sessions are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the last Monday of the month. For more information, check out www.DaddyReadaBook.org.