I’Nella, the Outreach Coordinator for the Molina Foundation, reviewed her organization’s history.  The first Molina medical clinic was founded by the late Dr C David Molina, to help uninsured, non-English speaking and low income patients.  It now has clinics in 16 states.
The Foundation was founded in 2004 by Martha Molina Bernadett, MD, MBA (now a Paul Harris Fellow), after she noted that children in her waiting room wanted to take some of the children’s books home to read.  The Foundation’s Mission is to reduce disparities in access to education and health by the underserved.  Illiteracy is viewed as a health risk.
I’Nella, who sometimes dresses as “Horton Hears the Who” from the Dr Seuss books for children’s reading events, described how children (like the rest of us) like the feel of a book in their hands, holding it and owning it.  She does not believe electronic readers will ever completely replace the usefulness of books.  The Molina Foundation’s programs include Volunteers for collecting, packing and distributing children’s books, Community Service Projects dealing with promoting literacy events for children, Book Buddies (promoting reading enthusiasm in character to elementary school students), and First Book (providing children with their first self-selected book to take home).
The Molina Foundation partners with many organizations including Rotary, Kiwanis and charitable foundations.  About 1-3 million books are collected and given out per year.  I’Nella showed photos of happy children receiving and reading their books.  Some receive backpacks filled with books.  Events include library programs, Adopt a School (to provide every child with 1-3 books), and Day of the Farmworker (children of field workers who live near the fields, with poor educational possibilities and often limited English ability).  They have a Harbor Hills Holiday Event (at the public housing project), and work with many Catholic schools with the Catholic Educational Foundation.  The Molina Foundation is in need of donations of “gently used” books.  I’Nella invites us to register with their website, www.molinafoundation.org, to volunteer and to donate.