Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction




Friday, September 8, 2000



COLUMBUS – Hope Taft, First Lady of Ohio, today joined Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) Director Reginald A. Wilkinson at Corrections Training Academy for a rally recognizing DRC employees involved in the OhioReads program.

"I commend DRC employees for promoting reading across the state. These reading rooms are centers for parental bonding where children benefit from reading with their parents and parents can contribute to their child’s reading development and enthusiasm," said Mrs. Taft.

Governor Bob Taft created the OhioReads program in 1999 with a goal of ensuring every child can read at grade level by the end of fourth grade. Beverly Martin, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Chairperson for the OhioReads Council, thanked the reading volunteers and underscored the positive impact their tutoring provides.

Joining in the rally were Bookeye, the OhioReads mascot, and Jumpy the Kangaroo. Jumpy, a hand puppet used to read stories to inmates’ children, was unveiled at today’s event. Students from three of DRC’s partner schools, Newman, Harrisburg, Darbydale and Hamilton Elementary Schools, along with the Miami Trace High School Band contributed to the festivity of the event.

Last year, Mrs. Taft initiated the development of Reading Rooms within DRC facilities. Today, 32 of Ohio’s 34 prisons have created colorful, cozy reading rooms so inmates can read and have quality time during visiting hours with their children.

Mrs. Taft also recognized the work of the Department’s educators who teach prison courses ranging from Adult Basic Education, to vocational education to high school and beyond.

DRC is an active participant in the OhioReads program, fielding over 400 tutors statewide. Wilkinson thanked DRC employees for their enthusiastic support of the program.

"When the DRC team is called upon to help others, they jump in with both feet," said Wilkinson. "OhioReads hits close to home, and our folks enjoy lending a hand. The Reading Rooms are helping two and sometimes three generations acquire an appreciation for learning."

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For more information, contact the DRC Public Information Office, at (614) 752-1150.