The Reading Bear Society
Faculty of Medicine

This project needs support with

 Volunteer Skills   Goods and Equipment   Venues 

The Reading Bear Society fosters a more conscientious and compassionate society by promoting early literacy, social well-being, and emotional health via peer reading. The initiative draws together parents, principals, teachers, advocates, students, and academics across communities to create healthier schools for all of Vancouver's youth.The Reading Bear was founded on the belief that intergenerational mentoring across communities provides an invaluable means for building compassion, strengthening empathy, and improving lifelong learning and health outcomes.

Co-founded in 2011 by UBC alumna Dr. Joanne Roussy (1999), Lani Morden (1994), and Isabel Chen (UBC medical student), The Reading Bear Society is a non-profit citywide early literacy initiative, focused on educating the “heart-mind.” The initiative is led by a group of dedicated volunteers and supported by high school reading buddies as well as student volunteers.

Our organization consists of parents, principals, teachers, advocates, and academics collaborating across communities to create healthier schools for all of Vancouver’s youth. We have reached out to over 1,000 youth, organizing ongoing peer reading visits to six elementary schools by students from three high schools.

Because the initiative has grown so much since its inception, with its reach continuing to expand in the future, numerous volunteering opportunities have emerged. The Reading Bear Society is currently looking for assistance in a number of key areas:

• Fundraising, PR and communications
• Book drive organization
• Donations (funds, services, plush bears in volume, children’s books in volume)
• Audio / visual expertise
• Web development (PHP / HTML / jQuery) and / or Wordpress maintenance
• Administrative assistance

If you feel that you could any donate services or resources listed above or others that potentially relevant to the initiative, please contact

Student Leadership
Christine Wang, Katrina Dutkiewicz, Victoria Baronas, Cristian Vadeanu, Katrina Hsu, Jenny Lee, Chelsea Almadin, Ivan Chiu, Amandeep Gill, Hirad Nourbakhsh

UBC Alumna team
Ms. Lani Morden (principal Graham Bruce Elementary School and Collingwood Neighborhood School, Dr. Joanne Roussy (President, The Reading Bear), Ms. Evelyn Tam (kindergarten teacher at Strathcona Elementary School), Ms. Melanie Moore (kindergarten teacher at Queen Alexandra Elementary School, Liz Hayes-Brown (Vice-principal Collingwood Neighborhood School), Julie Gelson (kindergarten teacher at Queen Alexandra Elementary School), Colleen Sturrock (kindergarten teacher at Strathcona Elementary School), Santhe LeBlanc (Head of Grade 8, St George’s School), Dr. Trevor Newton (Head of Emergency Room, Langley Memorial Hospital), Lesley Foran (kindergarten teacher at Lord Roberts Elementary School), Mary Chow-Humphries (kindergarten teacher at Lord Roberts Elementary School).

Advisory Board: Dr. John Helliwell, Dr. Janet Greenman, Dr. Linda Siegel , Dr. Andrew Deonarine , Dr. Adele Diamond, Dr. Lynn Miller, Dr. Boris Milosevic, Ms. Lyana Patrick, Colleen Sturrock, Colleen Dickie, Lynne Stanger, Julie Gelson, Stephanie Gold

29People have voted for this project

I think this is an interesting project that would really benefit from some extra exposure. Please join me in voting for it.

Sign in to vote for this projectWhy your vote counts

People helping this project

Share this project

9 people have shared this project.

The views expressed on this project page do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of British Columbia.

Get Involved - Connect with us