Volunteer for our Reach Out and Read Program!

Do you love reading to children?

Are you looking to volunteer a few hours every week? 

Then the Reach Out and Read Volunteer Reader position is right for you!


Volunteers are a vital part of the Reach Out and Read program. They transform the pediatric waiting rooms into literacy-rich areas for children and parents. They also help families learn the joys and various techniques of reading aloud. Volunteering for this program can take as little as two hours a week or as much time as you like.

The VMC Foundation is looking for volunteers who are 18 years of age or older who are willing to commit a minimum of 100 hours over the course of the next year to read to children in the pediatrics clinics at Valley Medical Center.

Going to the doctor can be a scary event for a child. Waiting in the waiting room for their appointment tends to only make them more anxious. You can make a difference by volunteering. Not only will you be able to ease their stress by distracting them with a book, you can also teach both the child and the parent great techniques so that the family reads at home and the child is properly prepared for school when the time comes.

You will be reading in the waiting room working with any of the children who are waiting for their doctors appointments. Books will be provided and each clinic has a table for you to sit at with the children. You will be able to build your own schedule, as long as you are committed to completing 100 hours over the course of the year.

How to Apply:

To learn more about being a Reach Out and Read Volunteer or to apply, please fill out the Reach Out and Read Volunteer Application and email it to vmcfoundation@hhs.sccgov.org.


The Reach Out and Read Model in Action

  • Doctors, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals incorporate Reach Out and Read’s evidence-based model into regular pediatric checkups, by advising parents about the importance of reading aloud and giving developmentally-appropriate books to children.
  • The program begins at the 6-month checkup and continues through age 5, with a special emphasis on children growing up in low-income communities.
  • Families served by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge.

The Challenge

  • More than one-third (34%) of American children entering kindergarten today lack the basic language skills they will need to learn to read.
  • Children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are more likely to develop stronger reading abilities and enter school prepared to succeed.
  • Fewer than half of parents (48%) in theUnited Statesread to their young children daily.
  • Parents of children living in poverty may lack the money to buy books, may not have easy access to good children’s books, and may not themselves have been read to as children.



El Camino Hospital District Awards $1.4 million to VMC Foundation

Building on a partnership that has already delivered health and dental services to nearly 14,000 low-income residents, the El Camino Hospital District announced a $1.4 million grant to the VMC Foundation to support adult medical and dental services at Valley Health Center (VHC) Sunnyvale.  The grant will fund adult dental care services for over 1,300 people, and strengthen existing efforts to improve medical care for 4,000 patients with a chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease.

“We are delighted and honored that El Camino Hospital District has decided to continue this important partnership,” said Chris Wilder, Executive Director of the VMC Foundation.  “Without their support, literally thousands of people in the north county area would be without access to medical and dental care.”

Since 2009, ECHD has provided over $5,000,000 to the VMC Foundation to support VHC Sunnyvale, a community clinic owned and operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). Grant funds are specifically targeted to strengthen the VHC Sunnyvale “medical home model,” providing patients with an integrated array of services bundled in one setting.  From care managers, pharmacists and social workers to nurses, doctors and mental health specialists, ECHD funding offers VHC Sunnyvale patients with an entire team of healthcare professionals that can coordinate care for the best results, while reducing unnecessary doctor and emergency room visits.

“It really marries our distinct vision for improving the health of our community through patient centered healthcare,” said Barbara Avery, El Camino Hospital Director of Community Benefit.  “It’s been a very successful partnership for both of us.  Our goal is to bring prevention, wellness and easy access to care to our community.”

“It means fewer trips to the emergency room.  It means fewer trips back to the doctor. That’s not only good for the patients, but it helps us reduce healthcare costs at SCVMC and El Camino Hospital,” said Wilder.

The grant also funds adult dental services, a critical and often under-reported need in low-income communities.  Few public programs support dental care, so adults without private insurance are often hard-pressed to find services they can afford.  Thanks to ECHD funding, VHC Sunnyvale can offer this service to adults.

“Prior to this clinic having primary care services, people from the north county had to travel down to theSan Josearea to get services.  It meant bus transfers, it meant missing work and lost wages, so the consequence was that many people simply did not access care,” said Cecile Currier, Vice President of Corporate & Community Health Services at El Camino Hospital.

The grant has one other notable impact – it makes ECHD the largest institutional donor in VMC Foundation history.  No other single organization, foundation or corporation has given more.

“Healthcare is a team effort,” said Wilder.  “The only way for us to provide the healthcare that this community needs is to work together.”

UPDATE: Sal Pizzaro wrote about the partnership in the Sunday, July 22 edition of the San Jose Mercury News.  You can read the article here.

New summer program brings arts to the East Side!

We are excited to announce our newest program, East Side Community Arts!

When founder, Laura Peters, was looking for free summer programs for the students that she teaches in Alum Rock School District and found very few options, she was motivated to start her own- and from there, East Side Community Arts was created.

 East Side Community Arts works to inspire nonviolent interactions and creative lifestyles among youth living in East San Jose through the visual and performing arts. By offering free art classes led by credentialed teachers and professional artists, East Side Community Arts allows youth the opportunity to create visual and performing arts while fostering confidence, empowerment, and community.

Last week East Side Community Arts was featured in the San Jose Mercury News. To reach the article click here. For more information on this outstanding program check out www.eastsidecommunityarts.org.  This website also makes it easy to donate to the program.

Take a peek at the program on dance day with Ms. Adjei!


VMC blazes trail to spinal cord injury cure with assist from Supes

Here’s the vision: Years from now, we’ll look back on the video below and say “This was the moment; the moment where it all became real.”

Let me explain, because this is going to be BIG. It needs to be.

A year ago, you might remember that Valley Medical Center was chosen to be the first place in the nation to conduct a trial of embryonic stem cells on real patients. In the video, you’ll meet both who got them—Richard and Katie. They are the only two in history west of the Mississippi to participate in this trial.

The company who sponsored the trial is Geron, and they discontinued the program due to funding considerations…and here’s why we must keep the work going: The stem cells that Katie got were just supposed to test whether the procedure could be done safely. We weren’t expecting her to improve her functioning and mobility.

But that’s what happened.

So three cheers to the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County for supporting our creation of an “Institute of Regenerative Medicine”. The video captures the first vote, and it’s only the first step…but again, years from now, I hope we can look back and recognize it as the moment where a whole new field of medicine was created, right here at VMC: Not just spinal cord injury rehabilitation, but spinal cord injury cure.

 Now we need YOUR help. If you would like to talk about supporting this critical work at this crucial time in history, please call me directly at 408-885-5299.

Volunteers Use Their Passions to Support VMC

Valley Medical Center’s tiniest and most vulnerable patients have been wrapped in love from our community.

Quilts for Kids and The Knitmore Girls, two community organizations, have donated handmade quilts and knit hats for babies in VMC’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These donations aren’t just of practical use for the babies to help regulate temperature – they are a special gift that families can take home with them from the hospital.

The VMC Foundation would like to thank Quilts for Kids and The Knitmore Girls for generously sharing your talents and passions with our patients. The volunteers made special appearances recently in the NICU where they toured the unit and had the opportunity to give every baby a beautiful, unique quilt and hand knit hat.

VMC supporters are encouraged to get involved! If you’d like to learn more about The Knitmore Girls and Quilts for Kids organizations and their involvement with VMC, please see the links below.

Quilts for Kids

The Knitmore Girls

VMC staff “give a booster shot” to VMC Foundation

The staff of Valley Medical Center and the entire Health & Hospital System have some of the toughest jobs in healthcare.  They work long hours in challenging conditions, oftentimes for less money than they could make elsewhere.  But they stay committed to VMC, because they believe in providing healthcare to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.

And they do something more – something truly remarkable.  They donate to the VMC Foundation.  A lot.

The VMC Foundation just wrapped up our annual employee giving campaign – dubbed “Give a Booster Shot.”  Health & Hospital System employees are encouraged to make small, bi-monthly donations to the VMC Foundation that, over the course of 5 years, total $1000.  These ‘SuperBoosters” help support some of the VMC Foundation’s most essential projects.

As of this writing, 188 staff signed up for the challenge as 2012 “SuperBoosters,” joining 665 from previous campaign years.  That equals tens of thousands of dollars in support of the VMC Foundation.

The funds help the Foundation do what we do best – educate the public about the importance of Valley Medical Center, and raise additional resources for important programs, services, technology and equipment that a tight county budget cannot always afford.

And it sends an important message to our broader community of donors.  VMC staff not only work hard, but they put their money where their mouth is and give their hard-earned dollars to the VMC Foundation.

We are honored and thrilled by their support.

To say thank you, the VMC Foundation is hosting a “FREE STAFF LUNCH” for all VMC and Health and Hospital System Employees on Thursday, July 19th from 11:30 am – 2:00 p.m.  

Our apologies, but this event is not open to the general public.  Our staff deserve a special (and tasty) token of thanks all to themselves.

For more information about the event, download the flyer.