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Area Residents Help Set-up Second Reading Room

Sponsored by the National Hook-Up of Black Women & Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Partners with NHBW and the Joliet NAACP for Martin Luther King National Day of Service

Joliet, IL (January 21, 2011)- To commemorate the Martin Luther King (MLK) National Day of Service, over 20 members of the Joliet Chapter of the National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW), joined forces with other area groups to clean and set-up the second National Hook-Up of Black Women & Silver Cross Hospital Reading Room. The new Reading Room is located in the Fairview Homes Community Center on the eastside of Joliet. Setting up the second Reading Room was in response to a request from the Fairview Homes Community Center Coordinator, Michelle Mitchell. The Joliet NAACP’s call for organizations to do community service on MLK Day was a perfect opportunity for NHBW to partner with other organizations and make this request a reality. The Joliet Community Action Network (JCAN) and Omega Psi Phi partnered with NHBW on the reading room project.

img_3316 readingroomPhoto caption: Flo Betts, NHBW member, Deb Summers, National President of National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW), and Gwen Ulmer, NHBW member and Community Relations Coordinator for Silver Cross Hospital, post the new sign for the second “NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Room” in the Fairview Homes Community Center on the eastside of Joliet.

Each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – “a day on, not a day off.” This day is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President's national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.

“We thought it was a wonderful way to celebrate the MLK Day and give back to the children who reside in our community by setting-up the second National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW) & Silver Cross Reading Room,” said Lou Ann Johnson, President of Joliet’s National Hook-Up of Black Women. “By establishing a second Reading Room, more children will have access to books, computers and other resources to help them do their homework while preparing them for a lifetime of learning.”

The Reading Room is part of the NHBW organization’s Reading For Life Literacy Program. At the NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Room, children and parents are able to swap, borrow or take a book to keep in their own personal libraries. Silver Cross Hospital donated funds to purchase book shelves and other supplies for the Reading Room, and will hold regular drives to make books easily accessible to children. In addition, the Housing Authority donated six computers available for children to access for school projects while they visit the Reading Room.

“Silver Cross Hospital is very pleased to have partnered again with the National Hook-Up of Black Women to open a second Reading Room that will help improve the health of the community,” said Ruth Colby, Senior Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer for Silver Cross Hospital. “Children who can read are prepared to make better life choices related to nutrition and career goals.  Silver Cross is deeply committed to the success of the Reading For Life Literacy Program, as we have a vested interest in helping area children to read  - many of these children may be future Silver Cross employees.”

The second NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Room will be open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Monday through Friday in the Fairview Homes Community Center at 1426 Englewood Street, Joliet. Questions? Call (815) 727-0642.

The other location of the NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Room is open from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Unity CDC - Center for Working Families at the Dave L. Evans Campus at 201 South Briggs Street, Joliet- just one block north of Interstate 80. (Formerly St. Mary Magdalene School) During 2010, the Reading for Life Literacy Program provided more than 6,700 books to over 2,100 children and adults in the community.

For more information about donating children’s books to the Reading for Life Literacy program, call Gwen Ulmer, Community Relations Coordinator at Silver Cross Hospital, at (815) 740-1096.

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