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2021 Impact Report

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Alumna and Donor Rebecca Cline on Giving Back

Rebecca Cline reading with students and a very cute white dog

Rebecca Cline, B.S. ’83, Ed.M. ’86 ElEd, is passionate about, in no particular order: books, dogs, kids, and reading and writing. She’s found a way to support them all—by using her time and training to volunteer through SitStayRead.

Retired from teaching since 2017, and an “empty nester” with all five of her children grown and living and working across the country, Rebecca Cline knew she still wanted to do something within the education world. Her cousin’s daughter, who was then teaching in Chicago Public Schools, told Rebecca about an organization called SitStayRead.

“At that time I was considering what was next, and knew I wanted to be in schools with kids somehow,” says Rebecca. “Even though you don’t have to be a dog owner to volunteer with SitStayRead, I decided to get a dog and train him to be a certified therapy dog. Which is how Ajax became part of our family and my new co-worker,” she says.

“Dogs Help Kids Read” is the mantra of SitStayRead, the nonprofit organization that provides programming for low-income students in kindergarten through third grades in qualifying Chicago Public Schools. The curriculum supports key literacy skills. As a Dog Team, Rebecca and Ajax visit classrooms for an hour each week during a six- to eight-week program.