Northfield Area United Way launches new initiative

Today is the kick-off for the 2006 fall campaign for the Northfield Area United Way.  Many of Northfield’s CEOs and their appointed campaign directors will gather to learn about the campaign, and about the United Way's new initiative.

In collaboration with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, we as a community will mail a free book each month to the home of every child from birth to 5 years old in our area. 

Early literacy is regarded nationally as one of the important ways to improve the educational opportunities for our children. We know that learning to read is a process much like learning to speak or learning to walk.  This process begins at birth.  They need to learn how a book works – you read left to right and you turn pages.  They associate pictures with words and emotions.  These are all steps along the way to learning to read.  Perhaps even more importantly, they also learn to love to read

There is ample research that supports early literacy, yet common sense tells us most of what we need to know.  The key to success in school and beyond is to develop proficient reading skills. One of the most important activities a parent can do to develop these skills is to read with their child as much as possible. 

Parents need to register their child/children with the Northfield Area United Way.  All children registered by December 1, 2006, will begin receiving their free books monthly at the end of January, 2007.  Children born after January, 2004, and living in zip codes: 55088, 55046, 56052, 55019, 55057 and 56069 are eligible.  Addresses must be kept current, as books cannot be forwarded. 

We will be collaborating with the Northfield Hospital birthing center, local pediatricians, Northfield Early Childhood Initiative Coalition, the public library and Booker as well as with all of you. 

This program is in addition to all the programs your dollars already support:  The Community Action Center, IRIS, Montgomery Food Shelf, American Red Cross, Exchange Club for Family Unity, Ruth’s House, Hope Center, Three Rivers Transitional Housing, Summer Ventures, Bridges to Kindergarten, Girl Scouting, NFLD Nursery School, NFLD Union of Youth, Open Door Nursery School, Project Friendship Mentoring, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Family School, Project SIGHT, Healthy Community Initiative, Youth Sports Collaborative, NFLD Senior Center, SEMCAC Senior Dining, Loving Hands, NFLD Youth Choir, Health Finders, EPIC, Special Olympics, Project ABLE, Friendship Connection, and Rice County Dispute Resolution.

All of these programs are made possible by your generous gifts to the Northfield Area United Way.  We need your support to do this.

Elizabeth Schott is the executive director of the Northfield Area United Way.