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Ready To Learn is Bringing PBS KIDS to the Market @25th

Architectural rendering of The Market @25th


Ready To Learn is excited to announce its partnership with the Market @ 25th in the East End of Richmond.  The Market @ 25th is a community project that is anchored by a 25,000 square-foot full-service grocery store.  Surrounded by neighborhood staples like the East End Library and the Front Porch Café, the Market at 25th promises to be more than just a food store.  With major partners like VCU Health and PBS KIDS Ready To Learn, it will serve as a community connector for East End residents. 
The Market strives to be community-focused, customer-centered, and team-oriented.  By providing quality food sources at great prices in a welcoming atmosphere, the Market @ 25th will fill a need consistently expressed by its residents.  In addition, it will provide employment opportunities for the Church Hill community while developing initiatives to support a culture of community health and wellness.  In an effort to honor and celebrate the significant history of Church Hill, the Market’s interior will provide a visual backdrop that reminds customers of their deep roots and important contributions to the vibrancy of the East End.


Our PBS KIDS Ready To Learn outreach initiative will be a permanent fixture at the Market @ 25th, providing fun and educational child and family engagement opportunities with resources and activities anchored by the trusted PBS KIDS brand.  The Market will serve as a vehicle for learning while parents shop, by offering children engaging ways to pique their curiosity while traversing the store.
To demonstrate commitment to our partnership with the Market @ 25th and the community of Church Hill as a whole, Ready To Learn has hired a full-time East End Ready To Learn Manager that will serve as a liaison to the Market and will help us develop programs and experiences that are meaningful to its residents.  Karen Wells, who is already deeply connected to the East End, is charged with connecting with neighbors in the market space, while also partnering with other key organizations in Church Hill, including the Peter Paul Development Center, to bring resources and engaging learning experiences to families. 
“PBS KIDS has been providing fun educational programs and tools for kids and families for decades. We are so proud to collaborate with The Market @25th to bring our Ready To Learn initiative to our Church Hill neighbors and friends,” Wells says of the partnership.

Karen Wells, East End Ready To Learn Manager


Karen’s unique experience and background have prepared her well for her role as East End Ready To Learn Manager. A native of Richmond, and a fifth generation Church Hill native, Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with a minor in Spanish from Old Dominion University, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Karen has always been an advocate for both education and community.  Previously, as a community outreach manager for the American Heart Association, she led efforts to develop community programming to address health disparities and address food deserts in Richmond’s Church Hill Community.
Karen has also served as educator and enrollment coordinator for the Affordable Care Act, as a women’s health advocate/educator and as a Spanish instructor and translator.  Mary Jo Grieve, Director of the Ready To Learn program says, “Ready To Learn is thrilled to bring Karen’s talents and knowledge to our program in the East End.  With Karen as the connector to the Church Hill community, we will be able to help transform the everyday act of grocery shopping into a powerful learning landscape for families.  With PBS KIDS resources throughout the store, opportunities will be available to challenge the mind, spark conversations and encourage joyful interactions between children, parents and store employees.”


So, what should the Church Hill Community expect to see from Ready To Learn’s presence in the Market @ 25th?  Immediate plans for the Market include:  
  • Story Times - Children will enjoy a Story Time with Karen, along with a fun, hands-on activity related to the topic of the book.
  • Family Engagement Days – Unique opportunities for families to learn about PBS KIDS resources available to them, as well as the chance to engage in activities specifically designed for multi-generational interactions.
  • Book Readings & Distributions – Children will have a book read to them and will then get a copy to take home with them.
  • PBS KIDS Screening Events – Opportunities to screen programs starring your favorite PBS KIDS characters.  These programs serve as the foundation for learning in all we do.
  • PBS KIDS Character Appearances – Meet and greet your favorite PBS KIDS characters and learn more about the programs that PBS KIDS offers that help develop children’s social-emotional, literacy, STEAM and healthy living skills.
The Ready To Learn activities will be published to the Market @ 25th online calendar (coming soon), and will also be posted in the store.  Karen Wells will be working hard to assess community needs to be sure our Ready To Learn programs evolve to best serve the community of Church Hill.  In addition, elements within the grocery store will be added, as the project is finished, to be sure the PBS KIDS presence allows for fun and engaging moments for families as they shop.
Be sure to look for the PBS KIDS Welcome Center, located at the store entrance.  Here, we will post about upcoming events and share about PBS KIDS programming and activities throughout the store and in the East End Community.  You’ll even find opportunities for adults as well.  In addition, you’ll find the PBS KIDS Corner in the Community Room of the Market @ 25th.  This is where we will host the majority of our events within the store.


Ready To Learn is an outreach initiative of the Community Idea Stations that works to provide PBS KIDS resources and educational experiences for children and their families across Central Virginia.  By using the entire catalog of PBS KIDS resources, Ready To Learn helps parents engage their children in fun and educational ways that are developed by educators and accessible to all.  In addition to providing educational television programming that parents trust, PBS KIDS offers a myriad of digital experiences online and via mobile apps.  As the final complement, the Ready To Learn program provides in-person experiences for families to engage in hands-on activities and events that add another meaningful dimension to learning. 
The Ready To Learn program is mission-driven and connects directly to the founding of the Community Idea Stations, over 50 years ago, when WCVE PBS was created for the sole purpose of streaming engaging educational content directly into classrooms.  We are proud to continue this tradition through this new and expanding partnership in the East End of Richmond.  While Ready To Learn has partnered with schools in this area for years through book readings and distributions throughout the school year, the Market provides a unique opportunity to be a consistent, impactful part of the Church Hill community.
To keep up with everything happening with the Market @ 25th, be sure to:
The Market @ 25th is slated to open at the end of April 2019.