Welty and the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative

The Stateline Community Foundation is one of Welty’s long-time funders, and they have been helping us connect the community with nature since the early 2000s. Most recently, they awarded us a Community Impact grant to run summer field trips for the Stateline Boys and Girls Club and Community Action, Inc.

They are also an entity behind the Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative, which champions the importance of early childhood literacy. Their goal is to create a community of partners, consisting of area non-profits, government agencies, church groups, and concerned citizens whose engagement signals the importance of this issue to the greater Beloit community.  Promotion efforts have included distributing over 8,000 books, supporting the Reach Out and Read program in area health systems, and–in March–installing billboards around town that celebrate BLFLI’s vision for the Stateline area.

This BLFLI billboard on Milwaukee Road was installed in March to create awareness about the importance of early childhood literacy to the community’s social and economic health.

Welty has participated in the Initiative’s monthly meetings since they began in 2016. We’ve made some great connections, including the beginning of our partnership with the Rock and Walworth County Head Start/Early Head Start.

The Beloit Literacy for Life Initiative…

We secured funding from the Hendricks Family Foundation and have been able to work with 3-4 Head Start classrooms all year, even virtually during the winter.

Head Start emphasizes the importance of family engagement to support children’s learning and the role of parents as their primary educators. Welty’s field trips create a monthly opportunity for parents to interact with their children during school, and can model family activities outside of school, whether visiting a neighborhood park to look for animal homes or picking up trash during a Big Hill hike.

…champions the importance of early childhood literacy for the greater Beloit community.

Our staff has also benefited from their work with the preschoolers. By planning with teachers, we’ve developed age-appropriate nature lessons that incorporate many of the socio-emotional skills preschoolers need to develop before kindergarten.  These field trips are a favorite of ours, because of the wonder and excitement the children bring on their visits. It is a collaboration we are happy to strengthen and grow, and appreciate BLFLI’s role in cultivating these kinds of partnerships.

Check out the new billboards around town, and get involved in the Initiative (https://statelinecf.org/literacy-for-life/)!

Brenda Plakans
Executive Director, WEC