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Area Resident ‘Paying It Forward’ To Help Fight Literacy with the National Hook-Up of Black Women & Silver Cross Hospital

New Lenox, IL (March 21, 2012)- When Valerie Baudo started earning extra money selling Mary Kay products and hosting garage sales and bake sales, she wanted to do something special with her profits and it wasn’t to buy something for herself.

readingroom valerie bavadoPhoto caption: Gwen Ulmer, National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW) member and Community Relations Coordinator for Silver Cross Hospital, accepts children’s books from Valerie Baudo, Silver Cross Stores & Distribution employee, for the National Hook-Up of Black Women & Silver Cross Hospital Reading Rooms. In an act of giving back to the community to help children, Baudo purchased over 50 books from all the proceeds she made from selling Mary Kay Products, hosting garage sales and bake sales. 

“I have been blessed throughout my life, especially when I was a child, with people who have helped me. For this reason, I wanted to give support to other children so they can positively change their own lives,” said Valerie Baudo, Silver Cross Hospital Stores & Distribution employee. So through her job at the hospital, Baudo learned of the National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW) & Silver Cross Hospital Reading Rooms, and felt this cause was a perfect one to support.

“Once I learned of the Reading Rooms’ purpose to fight literacy and help children avoid poverty by increasing their education level, I knew this was the right organization to donate 100 percent of my profits,” said Crestwood resident Baudo. “Even though I’m one person, it is so motivating knowing all my efforts and money are putting books in the hands of children, who may not have the opportunity to have books in their home.” In an act of giving back to the community, Baudo purchased over 50 books for the Reading Rooms from all the proceeds she made from selling Mary Kay Products, hosting garage sales, and bake sales.

The Reading Rooms are a part of the NHBW organization’s Reading For Life Literacy Program. At the NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Rooms, 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 Rooms, and 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 Rooms.

“Silver Cross Hospital is very pleased to have partnered with the National Hook-Up of Black Women to 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 NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Rooms have two locations. The first location 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). The second NHBW & Silver Cross Reading Room is open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Fairview Homes Community Center at 1426 Englewood Street, Joliet. In the past year, the Reading for Life Literacy Program provided more than 6,700 books to over 2,100 children and adults in the community. Questions? Call (815) 727-0642.

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) 300-1096.

About The National Hook-Up of Black Women

The National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. Joliet Chapter is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable community service organization dedicated to improving the lives of families through support of the arts, culture, health, education, and human services programs. NHBW provides free programs, health and wellness seminars and clinics for the community with the help of local hospitals and physicians. The Joliet Chapter was established in October 1991 and is supported by membership dues, donations and fundraisers. All programs and services are presented to the community at no cost. 

About Silver Cross Hospital

Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last seven consecutive years and a one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 3,000 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction on a state-of-the-art replacement hospital is complete and opened on Feb. 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.