Investing in Milwaukee’s Children
Research shows that the greatest impact for at risk children is from birth to 5 years old. Children learn more quickly during their early years than at any other time in their life. Children who fall behind at this stage rarely catch up. That is where the Next Door Foundation steps in. Their mission is to help central city children and their families overcome challenges and build better lives for themselves.
A team of Network Health employees recently volunteered for the Next Door Read with Me program which strives to enhance children’s literacy skills and support their love of books. Each volunteer was paired with two children, ages 3 to 5, in the school’s library. Network Health Vice President of Government Programs, Elizabeth Benz, was one of the volunteers.
“It was such an energizing morning,” Benz said. “Dr. Seuss quotes and bright décor really added to the energy in the room, along with the enthusiasm from the kids”
Some children sat and listened while others acted out portions of the stories. The volunteers focused on getting to know the likes and dislikes of the children to tailor the books they read toward the children’s interest. Network Health Executive Assistant Lauren Douglas was another one of the volunteers.
“The whole experience was such an uplifting one,” Douglas said. “I felt so privileged to be part of the volunteer team and to get to experience the children’s imaginations and fascinations.”
The Next Door Foundation is always looking for volunteers. They have multiple opportunities for supporting kids directly in the classrooms and the library. Find out more about the Read with Me program or email mstevens@NextDoorMKE.org for any questions about other volunteer opportunities.