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St. Vincent’s Partners With Jaguars Tight End Julius Thomas to Encourage Local Children to Read

St. Vincent’s HealthCare, a ministry of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit healthcare system, is partnering with Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas to encourage local school children to read. Thomas will work with St. Vincent’s to collect books for children throughout North Florida and even read to them himself.

“When I think back on the life I have lived so far, I try and focus on the things that enabled me to be successful. I feel the contributing factor of some not finding success and others achieving their dreams is education and, more specifically, reading,” said Thomas. “St. Vincent’s HealthCare also understands the importance of educating our community’s youth and I am happy to partner with them to help encourage kids to read.”

Currently, the St. Vincent’s Family Medicine Center has a program called Reach Out and Read, which provides books to young children during their primary care visits. Additionally, the Family Medicine Center hosts an annual event called Read and Romp, which allows children to explore interactive stations with books, crafts and games. St. Vincent’s Mobile Health Outreach Ministry also provides children with books during their visits to its mobile units for school and sports physicals. 

"For us, taking care of our community goes beyond healthcare. We look at what our community needs and feel a responsibility to address those needs. Studies show the earlier children are exposed to books, the better,” said Dr. Sonya Dominguez, who created the St. Vincent’s Read and Romp program ten years ago. “We are happy to partner with Julius to help encourage kids to read. His desire to contribute positively to our community aligns well with our Mission at St. Vincent’s.”

The partnership between Thomas and the health system will officially kick off on Monday, April 25th at St. Vincent’s annual Physician’s Golf Tournament at the Timuquana Country Club, where Thomas will read to local children and talk about why the cause is important to him.