When Dr. Janet Martinez isn’t with her three beautiful, furry canine family members–Coco, Mavis, and Gigi–she works as a Health Technology Education professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). In partnership with her colleague, Dr. Catherine Faver, she has been leading the RedRover Readers Service Learning Project. This inspiring project provides UTRGV students, high school students from South Texas, and volunteers the opportunity to teach at-risk children uniquely crafted lessons that foster social-emotional health, empathy and literacy skills.

Over the years, Dr. Martinez and Dr. Faver have trained hundreds of UTRGV students in the RedRover Readers program, and their students have gone on to do thousands of readings with children all over the Rio Grande Valley!

Not only do Dr. Martinez and Dr. Faver train others in the RedRover Readers program, they have also coordinated readings at public libraries and elementary schools in Brownsville, McAllen, Pharr, Edinburg, Port Isabel, and Los Fresnos, as well as an afterschool program at the Edinburg Housing Authority. The Edinburg Housing Authority is an initiative to serve the emotional and educational needs of children in the local community.

By using the RedRover Readers program, Dr. Martinez hopes to proactively reach as many children as possible with the opportunity to practice perspective-taking, which helps to foster empathy and prevent future animal abuse.

Thank you, Dr. Martinez! To learn more about the RedRover Readers program, visit RedRover.org/Readers or take our upcoming online workshop starting October 6, 2020.