Notes from April 9th – Beloit’s Literacy for Life Initiative Meeting

Meeting held on April 9, 2018 at Beloit Public Library 7:30 am.

Mark your Calendar

Next meeting will be Monday, May 7th from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Beloit Public Library

From Bill Flanagan, Chair

First, let me say thanks for your attendance and contributions during the first official meeting of the Beloit’s Literacy for Life Initiative on a dreary and snowy Monday morning!!

We had 32 attendees representing many segments of the Greater Beloit area and we hope to engage many more in future meetings.

We will be following up with suggestions for making our goal of being more inclusive a reality.

Thanks for the names and suggestions for who we need to have at the table.

Second, thanks to Mary Studemann and Tim McKearn we are attaching the minutes from the meeting–the general report-out session and the larger breakout group containing representation from multiple organizations and affiliations.

Our goal, moving forward, is to be as transparent as possible with our communications to ensure everyone is kept up to date on progress made, challenges faced, ideas to be pursued and suggestions for action.

Notes from April 9th

Non-Profit and Government Groups

Andrew Janke reported he works with many businesses and communicates with them regularly. He can push information out to them.

Sue Stein reported they have 1300 kids in the 53511 zip code in their program. She sees too much technology with kids and not enough talking to learn engagement. She also said that while many of their clients have cell phones, many do not have data plans so things like apps wouldn’t apply to them. Their literacy efforts would focus around nutrition related topics, “What color is the apple?”, etc.

Monica Krystopa from community Health reported they are doing more training with their providers and are working on developing evening programming for families.

The Welty Center focuses on literacy around environmental issues. They are partnering with Even Start program in Beloit. They have walking tours in Big Hill park that seek to create talking to learn opportunities. They hope to create interpretative signage out at Big Hill Park to promote conversation between adults and children. Q: Could this be an opportunity for businesses to partner with Welty and underwrite the signage?

Family Services talked about their efforts to promote little free libraries and “little, little libraries”. They need to find people willing to steward these little libraries. They hope to get more in all the parks. Their clients in Domestic Violence Shelter can benefit from reading as a therapeutic tool but there are many issues with these folks.

RSVP is involved in Reading for America. They would like to provide a book for each child at the end of the year but have run into funding challenges. They have an Intergenerational Hero’s program that runs 5 weeks and has a culminating activity where the children present to their parents.

United Methodist Church is Roscoe is partnering with two schools in Rockford. Their program puts a child in front of 3 different adults three times a week for 20 minutes each.

United Way Blackhawk Region invests in the Imagination Library. This program sends a book a month to the homes of program participants. There are 300 homes enrolled in the program and there are 290 on a waiting list.

Michelle Erikson reported on a program in Wausau called LENA Start. It’s a “Cadillac Program” that partners the library, community health and Children’s Hospital. This could be an aspirational program for Beloit down the road. There is an APP called “Ready for K” that can be helpful for parents to use.

Is there a way to gather employer data for Beloit School District families? Would it be helpful for us to know who are the largest employers of school district families?

Who else needs to be in the room? Will some perceive this effort as judgmental? How do we overcome this hurdle?

  • Community Action Program
  • NeighborWorks Blackhawk Region(NHS)
  • Beloit Housing Authority (Jeff Hoyt)
  • Family Promise
  • Others not in the room (YMCA? Beloit College?)