Reach Out and Read Program

NorthLakes Community Clinic Minong staff display some of the books from the Reach Out and Read Program. The staff includes (from left) Greta Scaffidi, Michelle Boutwell, Alexa Connolly, Monica Skille, Loretta Johnson, Jenny Downs, Dr. Dodson Thompson, and Janelle Kidder, NP.

MINONG– NorthLakes Community Clinic – which has several clinics, including in Minong, Birchwood, and Hayward – is a 501(c)(3) Community Health Center, which were created in the 1960s with President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty to serve as a health care safety net for the most vulnerable and high-need populations throughout the United States.

There are many families living within the federal poverty level in the local region. Some are primary health care patients at NorthLakes Community Clinic in Minong. While NorthLakes alone cannot fix the poverty situation, they are taking one step towards remedying the future by addressing a component of poverty, illiteracy.

NorthLakes sponsors a literacy program called the Reach Out and Read program. It gives children of all ages a foundation for success by incorporating books into family care by encouraging families to read.

Just in Minong, over the first half of the year (the number has not been tabulated yet for the second half), 275 books were given out to children when they came to the clinic.

The Reach Out and Read program builds on the unique relationship between parents and health care providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning in infancy and beyond.

NorthLakes’ providers incorporate early literacy into discussions with parents seeking pediatric and family health care. The health care providers equip parents with the tools and knowledge to ensure their children are prepared when they start school.

“Books and reading aloud are a child’s earliest exposure to language, learning, culture, art, and the world around them,” NorthLakes said. “It is all of our hope that our communities’ children enter kindergarten with larger vocabularies and stronger language skills.

“During the preschool years, children served by childhood literary programs scored 3 to 6 months ahead of families who do not read together. These early foundational language skills help start children on a path of success when they enter school,” NorthLakes said.

Reach Out and Read builds the foundation and habit. It helps ensure success for older children, preens, and teens through the power of literacy and perhaps piques interest in higher education.

NorthLakes is asking for help in funding the program.

They are running out of books, especially for the older grade school children. They are seeking donations to purchase books for the children. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic will purchase new books.

Donations can be made securely online at People also can send a check to Greta Scaffidi, NorthLakes Clinic, 600 Shell Creek Rd., Minong, WI 54859, with “Minong Books” in the memory field of the check.

Another way to donate while supporting a local business at the same time is to purchase a gift certificate from Northwind Book & Fiber in Spooner and mail it to Scaffidi. Northwind will give NorthLakes a discount for itspurchase of books, so the donor's gift certificate donation will go even further. Donors should include their addresses with the certificates.

Donors are asked to email if the donation is made in honor of a loved one or in memory of someone special who may have passed on last year. Questions also can be directed to the email.

“For today, this childhood literary program is a concrete investment to help the families and children that we serve,” NorthLakes said. “We hope you share NorthLakes values in building a foundation for literacy success for the Minong community.”

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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