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Team Toucan

Team members: Top row (l-r): David Platts, Iris Griffin, Jeff Perez
Middle row (l-r): Jim Stritzinger, Janice Holmes, Amy Flanary-Smith
Bottom row (l-r): Charles Williams, Dan Bruinsma

Team Toucan focused efforts on Roadrunner Reading Bridge which connects residents of Lexington Medical Center’s Extended Care (“LMC-EC”) with the elementary children of Red Bank Elementary in a project that will delight both groups. The residents at LMC-EC, like all residents of nursing homes, have faced unprecedented separation from loved ones and the outside world during the pandemic. Team Toucan connects Lexington County seniors with the comfort and joy of a local elementary child’s voice. Elementary students from Red Bank Elementary (the Roadrunners) in Lexington County will work with their reading specialist and their teachers to record storybooks, which will be given to residents of LMC-EC upon completion. Our project allows the students to practice reading for fluency and reading with a purpose, as each page is separately recorded so students can practice pace, cadence, and pronunciation. Red Bank’s leadership was pleased to introduce a unique service-learning opportunity for the children that is sustainable during mandatory social distancing. The residents of LMC-EC will receive the gift of a local child’s performance, albeit from afar, to bring joy and smiles to their faces. Ideally, after the pandemic is over, the students might be able to meet and read in person to some of the residents to whom they gave books. Additionally, when not in pandemic conditions, the books might be shared among residents. Funding of this project is provided by Michelin and Dominion Energy. The Roadrunner Reading Bridge program is versatile and can be adopted by any school that is able to partner with an extended care facility.