Gift from Foundation Opens Books for UAMS KIDS FIRST

Kye Masino passes out books to an energetic UAMS KIDS FIRST class after reading to them.

Sarah Johnson, Kye-YAC board member, reads to a group from UAMS KIDS FIRST in Little Rock.

Masino played with a few of the children as he and his group toured the facility.

June 25, 2014 | “It’s a good idea!” was one boy’s exclamation when he heard that he and his classmates were receiving books courtesy of Kye Masino and his foundation, Kye-YAC International. The foundation donated copies of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to children at the UAMS KIDS FIRST facility in Little Rock on June 18.

The children were excited to visit with Masino and Kye-YAC board member Sarah Johnson while they toured the building earlier that morning. Masino and Johnson also played with the kids, getting to see first-hand the benefit of the donation.

Masino and Johnson read several books including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The children loved the guest storytellers as smiles appeared while each book was read. After the readings, each student was given a copy of the book.

“We are very appreciative of Kye-YAC for the fun visit and donation of books to children at the Little Rock KIDS FIRST,” Erin Bright, co-administrator of the UAMS KIDS FIRST program. “Research tells us about the critical role early experiences play in brain development. Early language and literacy development begins in the first years of a child’s life and is closely linked to a child’s early positive experiences with books and stories. Kye’s donation will aid families in engaging in these meaningful interactions with their children.”

Masino and Kye-Yac International made a significant donation last year to establish the Kye Masino Family Resource Library, a library of resource materials for patients with genetic disorders and their families. The library is at the UAMS Medical Genetics Clinic in Freeway Medical Tower.

Masino’s grandmother, Nancy Masino, died suddenly in 2007. As a tribute to her, Kye’s family created an endowment through the Hot Springs Area Community Foundation that later developed into Kye-YAC International.

Masino only finished the ninth grade, but leads the all-youth board, the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), which researches and chooses which children’s charities to support. The goal of the foundation is to achieve a “future in which kids in Arkansas are joining to create a better tomorrow.” The organization has raised more than $100,000 in charitable giving for Arkansas youth through fundraising events and donations.

The UAMS KIDS FIRST program is exactly in line with the mission of Kye-YAC. KIDS FIRST is a pediatric day health care program for children with special needs. Children at KIDS FIRST range from six weeks to 5 years old. The program serves children in 11 sites across Arkansas. Services are tailored to each child’s individual needs and may include early intervention, health monitoring, nutrition assessment, behavioral consultation, and therapy.

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