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Foundation Invests $730,000 in Child-Focused Strategic Grants

The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation made $730,000 in strategic grant payments this fall for multi-year, child-focused investments.

Strategic grants are initiated by the Foundation based on the needs of the community and the momentum of community partners. The following grants are supporting the Foundation's focus areas of Strengthening Families, Third Grade Reading Proficiency, Social and Emotional Life Skills and Healthy Eating/Active Living.

Scratch Food Transformation - $75,466

The "fuel-up" nutrition program in the Johnson Creek School District is continuing this year, enabling the food service department to transition from traditional heat and serve food to healthier options. Students are benefiting from scratch-cooked, delicious breakfasts and lunches prepared daily using fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and clean label foods.

Prevention Social Worker - $136,500

The human services departments in Jefferson and Dodge counties are implementing Community Response, an innovative pilot program designed to prevent child maltreatment and neglect by targeting specific risk factors. The program provides at-risk families with a dedicated prevention social worker called a Family Advocate, who helps them build protective factors and connect to needed resources.

Mental Health Framework - $110,000

The Watertown Unified and Jefferson school districts are in their third year of this grant, which supports the staffing, resources and professional development needed to implement the Wisconsin School Mental Health Framework. The Framework includes universal strategies and targeted supports to improve student attendance, academic and emotional health indicators.

Playworks Active School Recess - $81,500

Recess provides time for students to develop skills like leadership, problem-solving and collaboration through play. Playworks Active Recess creates recess environments that promote physical activity and inclusion, positively impacting school safety, climate and student learning. Playworks coaching is being provided to Watertown Unified, Dodgeland and Lake Mills Area school districts.

Early Care and Education Model for Social Emotional Development - $61,098

The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based early care and education model that positively impacts child development and classroom behaviors. The Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health is providing Pyramid Model coaching to the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts, Willows Christian Child Care Center, Future All Star's Academy and Mary Linsmeier - Watertown.

Wisconsin Reading Corps Tutoring - $30,000

Educational research shows individual tutoring is critical to improving reading success. Watertown's Douglas and Webster Elementary schools are benefiting from Wisconsin Reading Corps, a program that provides trained reading tutors, expert coaching and data-driven processes. Tutors are working one-on-one with Kindergarten through 3rd grade students who need extra reading support.

Summer Learning Program Pilot - $12,000

Summer learning loss, also known as summer slide, is a significant contributor to the achievement gap. BellXcel is an evidence-based summer learning program that helps prevent the slide with curriculum, resources, assessments and professional development. The program was piloted with groups of elementary students in the Watertown Unified School District last summer.

School Attendance Effort - $3,850

Chronic absenteeism is a huge deterrent to reading proficiency. For that to improve, the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts are implementing a data-driven, best practice attendance challenge called Challenge Five. It communicates the importance of regular attendance with families and provides personalized supports, all aimed at having students record fewer than five absences in an academic year.

Quality Improvement Processes - $45,500

Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts are working to create cultures of continuous process improvement. Studer Education, a nationally-recognized firm that helps districts improve outcomes, is coaching them through quality improvement processes that support student achievement, employee engagement, parent satisfaction, department performance and financial effectiveness.

Pediatric Dental Access - $175,635

Of the 11,000 children in Dodge and Jefferson Counties covered by Medicaid, only 40% receive dental care in a given year, according to data from the Kids Count Database. This grant supports Church Health Services and Community Dental Clinic in expanding access to pediatric dental care for children in need.

The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation was formed in 2015 out of the joint venture transaction between the Watertown Regional Medical Center and LifePoint Health, with the purpose of promoting and enhancing the health and wellness of our community. To date, the foundation has invested more than $4.75 million in five strategic priorities: Strengthening Families; Kindergarten Readiness; Third Grade Reading Proficiency; Social and Emotional Life Skills; and Healthy Eating/Active Living.

To learn more about the Foundation and supported initiatives, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com.

playworks image of kids playing playworks image of kids playing

Elementary school students in the Watertown Unified, Dodgeland and Lake Mills Area school districts conduct recess using the Playworks model. Students serve as junior coaches, leading their peers in games that promote inclusion, team-building and physical activity.

playworks image of kids playing playworks image of kids playing

Students in the Johnson Creek School District benefit from a grant that enables the food service department to prepare scratch-cooked meals daily using fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and clean label foods.




Foundation Funds Collaborative Effort

Grant will support space for active adult programming

The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has awarded the Rock Lake Activity Center with a $10,000 Community Collaboration Grant. The award will be used for building improvements, which will allow Club 55, a Lake Mills active older adults group, to relocate to the center and expand its programming.

Community Collaboration Grants fund partnerships that build a sense of connectedness between community members or enhance community spaces where individuals can be active together.

"The center's 'Club 55 Transition' grant request is a great example of the type of projects our Community Collaboration Grants support," said Tina Crave, President and CEO. "The project demonstrates a strong collaborative effort between local businesses, organizations and individuals working to enhance quality of life for their residents."

The desire to be more flexible in their grant-making and to encourage organizations to work together to improve the health of the community inspired the GWCHF to open this year-round grant cycle earlier this year.

"Since these grants opened, we have funded projects totaling $19,000, and we anticipate several more requests in the next few months," said Carol Quest, GWCHF Board member and Grants Committee Chair. "The interest in these grants tells us improved health and well-being is an important quality of life issue to our residents."

Community Collaboration Grants are available to communities served by the school districts of Dodgeland, Hustisford, Ixonia, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Waterloo and Watertown.

The grants will provide funding to projects supported by two or more organizations, including at least one 501c3 non-profit or government agency. GWCHF funding will support up to 33% of a proposed project budget with a maximum grant value of $10,000.

Requests will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the grant's annual budget of $100,000 is met.

A formal Request for Proposals, complete with application information, can be found on the Grants page of the foundation’s website at www.watertownhealthfoundation.com.

To date, the foundation has invested more than $4.75 million in its five strategic priorities:

  • strengthening families
  • kindergarten readiness
  • third grade reading proficiency
  • social and emotional life skills
  • healthy eating/active living

To learn more about the foundation and supported initiatives, visit www.watertownhealthfoundation.com or Facebook at Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation.




Every Child Thrives Effort Highlighted at State Conference

Collective Impact Work in Dodge & Jefferson Counties Shared as a Model for Others

Watertown, Wis. - The collaborative efforts of Every Child Thrives, a partnership of more than 30 organizations in Dodge and Jefferson counties, was featured this week in a three-hour workshop at the Wisconsin Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference, held Oct. 14-16 in Elkhart Lake.

Joining forces to share about their collective work to support children and families were representatives from the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Watertown Unified School District, Dodgeland School District, Jefferson County Head Start, Jefferson County Birth to Three Program, Dodge County Birth to Three Program, Watertown Family Center, Future All Stars Academy (Juneau), Willows Christian Child Care Center (Iron Ridge), Community Care Preschool & Child Care (Beaver Dam), Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #2, UW-Madison Extension Dodge County and the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH).

The key message of the Every Child Thrives presentation to 60 session attendees was that there is tremendous power in multiple organizations coming together with a shared vision and goals. Presenters shared information about how they are working together to reduce child abuse and neglect, prepare students for Kindergarten and ensure they are proficient readers by 3rd grade. They provided details about their work in action teams driven by common agendas, data-driven decisions and backbone support from a philanthropic organization.

"I'm inspired by the work being done through the collective impact effort in Dodge and Jefferson counties to promote social and emotional competence and overall well-being of infants and toddlers," said Lana Nenide, Executive Director of WI-AIMH. "The intentionality and vision to support every child from birth through the most foundational years in the context of their family, community, and culture is admirable. The framework of bringing multiple agencies and efforts together under collaborative leadership to ensure health and well-being should be replicated around the state."

Every Child Thrives partners shared how they have significantly increased Kindergarten readiness screenings in the last two years, how they are developing the social emotional skills of children with the evidence-based Pyramid Model in early education settings, and how they are equipping parents with tools needed to be their child's first teacher. A major part of the presentation focused on TalkReadPlay, a community awareness campaign aimed at increasing awareness and sparking positive change to boost early childhood brain and language development.

Established in 2001, the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health (WI-AIMH) is a statewide non-profit dedicated to the promotion of social and emotional learning and relationship-based practices through raising public awareness; providing professional development; and advocating for policies which are in the best interest of babies, young children, and their families. For more information, visit wiaimh.org.

Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation, Every Child Thrives is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. For more information, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.

ECT-WI-AIMH-Presentation

Back row L to R: Linda Wallace, Watertown Unified School District; Jill Van Sickle, Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF); Karen Russell, CESA #2; Stephanie Curtis, Watertown Family Center; Patricia Carroll, UW-Madison Extension Dodge County; Tarasa Lown, GWCHF; Mary Anne Wieland, Jefferson County Head Start; Mindy Ganser, Dodgeland School District; Jenny Borst, Watertown Unified School District.

Front Row L to R: Renae Henning, Community Care Preschool & Child Care; Tricia Peterson, Future All Stars Academy; Brenda Schumacher, Willows Christian Child Care Center; Cassi Hurst, Dodge County Birth to Three; Beth Boucher, Jefferson County Birth to Three; Jenny Durand, Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health.




Every Child Thrives Collective Impact Effort Receives State Grant

Support will Advance Parenting Education in Dodge and Jefferson Counties

Watertown, Wis. - Every Child Thrives (ECT) has been awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to support its work in improving outcomes for children and families in Dodge and Jefferson Counties.

The three-year grant, valued up to $247,000, will support ECT partners, which include childcare providers, schools, public health agencies, healthcare providers and non-profits, to make parenting education universally available using the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. Triple P provides evidence-based skills training and interventions for all parents who need it, when they need it.

Both counties have seen an increase in child maltreatment cases over the past three years and the ECT partners are eager to implement evidence-based interventions to help reverse this trend.

"Our vision is that all children thrive in health, learning and life," said Every Child Thrives partner Pattie Carroll, Human Development and Relationships Educator with the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension in Dodge County. "Providing parents and families with education, tools and support will help us achieve that."

"Triple P is an evidence-based program that has been successful with improving health outcomes in communities around the world," said Sarah Myers, Program Officer with the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation. "We are grateful that the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board recognized the need in our community for a collaborative effort that will support the wellbeing of Dodge and Jefferson County children and help families become stronger."

The grant supports one year of capacity building work during which a design team will work with the community to determine how best to apply Triple P programming to the region. Upon satisfactory completion of the planning year, Every Child Thrives will be eligible for two years of implementation funding. For more information on the Triple P, visit triplep.net.

Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives (ECT) is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. For more information, visit watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.




Foundation Offers New Grant Opportunity

The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has announced a new grant opportunity designed to support collaboration and build community connectedness.  Community Collaboration Grants support partnerships that build a sense of belonging between community members or enhance community spaces where individuals can be active together.

 

"We are thrilled to be able to offer this new grant opportunity," said Tina Crave, President and CEO of the foundation. "The purpose of these grants is to support organizations in working together to build community."

 

Funded projects must serve the communities served by the school districts of Dodgeland, Hustisford, Ixonia, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Waterloo and Watertown.

 

The grants will provide funding to projects supported by two or more organizations, including at least one 501c3 non-profit or government agency. GWCHF funding will support up to 33% of a proposed project budget with a maximum grant value of $10,000. Applicants must have committed financial support from at least two other community organizations for no less than 67% of the project cost before approaching GWCHF for consideration.

 

Requests will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the grant's annual budget of $100,000 is met.

   

"The benefit of these grants is they will be open year-round, which will allow applicants time to create partnerships and request funding when its needed, instead of waiting for our more traditional grant-cycles to open," said Carol Quest, GWCHF Board member and Grants Committee Chair. "We are looking forward supporting organizations working to improve the quality of life for the members of our community."

 

A formal Request for Proposals, complete with application information, can be obtained on the Grants page of the foundation's website at www.watertownhealthfoundation.com.

 

To date, the foundation has invested more than $4 million in its five strategic, child-focused priorities:

  • strengthening families
  • kindergarten readiness
  • third grade reading proficiency
  • social and emotional life skills
  • healthy eating/active living
   

To learn more about the foundation and supported initiatives, visit www.watertownhealthfoundation.com  or Facebook at Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation.




Every Child Thrives Launches Learning Adventure

The next time you stop at the grocery store, you might run into cartoon characters Max and Emmy. These friendly, happy characters have a serious job: transforming your shopping trip into a fun learning experience. Max and Emmy are the faces of the new TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure, a pilot project of Every Child Thrives.

The TalkReadPLay Learning Adventure, launched at Watertown Piggly Wiggly, is the next phase of TalkReadPlay with your child every day campaign aimed at inspiring interaction among parents and their young children.

As parents move throughout the store, Max and Emmy along with their friends appear on brightly colored signs, encouraging parents to engage babies and young children in simple activities to help them learn.

An example: "Apples are red. Where are other red fruits and veggies?" Another: "Give your child cans to hold. Ask them which is heavier? Which is bigger?"

The prompts are designed to help parents talk, read and play during "everyday moments", including a trip to the grocery store, to create early learning experiences for their children.

Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives (ECT) is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. ECT's TalkReadPlay with your child every day campaign supports parents and caregivers with tools to help children grow and learn.

"Throughout the first few years of life, a child's brain builds the foundation for all future learning," said Tina Crave, GWCHF President and CEO. "Parents have an enormous impact on how well children learn to communicate and understand new ideas. But parents are busy and often feel like they don't have enough quality time with their children. Talking, reading and playing during everyday activities like grocery shopping creates ‘learning moments' that helps a child's brain grow."

"Even though babies don't talk until later, brain development for communication peaks at 7 months," said Tarasa Lown, GWCHF Program Officer. "By age five, ninety percent of overall brain development has already happened. The TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure shows parent and caregivers that early learning can be fun and easy and can take place anytime, anywhere," said Lown.

To celebrate the opening of the TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure, a kick-off event is planned for Saturday, March 2 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Watertown Piggly Wiggly. A children's book will be given to the first 100 families with infants through age five, and a social media challenge will be held to win Piggly Wiggly gift cards.

If this pilot TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure is successful, Every Child Thrives plans to expand the adventure to other area grocery stores.

With a goal of ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in health, learning and life, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has pledged more than $4 million in support of TalkReadPlay over the next five years. To learn more about TalkReadPlay and to access tips and tools for parents and caregivers visit www.TalkReadPlayWI.com.




TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure Kicks-Off

With the help of TalkReadPlay characters Max and Emmy, Every Child Thrives (ECT) partners shared with parents and caregivers the importance of early learning and how easy it can be at its recent TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure kick-off. The Learning Adventure is designed to turn an ordinary shopping trip into a fun learning experience.

The TalkReadPay Learning Adventure, piloted at Watertown Piggly Wiggly, is a part of the TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day campaign and is aimed at inspiring learning interactions between parents and their young children. As families move through the store, activity prompts encourage parents to engage with their child in a meaningful way.

Facilitated by the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF), Every Child Thrives is a partnership of more than 30 Dodge and Jefferson County agencies working to strengthen families, improve kindergarten readiness and ensure all children are reading proficiently by third grade. ECT's TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day campaign supports parents and caregivers with tools to help children grow and learn.

"The Learning Adventure presents the TalkReadPlay message in a fun and engaging way. The feedback we received from parents, grandparents and children at the kick-off was very positive," said Tarasa Lown, GWCHF Healthy Child Development Program Officer.

Signage displayed throughout the store prompts parents to engage babies and young children in simple activities to help them learn. The adventure is geared toward children ages newborn to five-the time when the brain grows fastest.

Along with activities, early learning tips for parents are displayed throughout the store.

"A fact that surprises most parents is by the time a child enters Kindergarten, 90% of brain development has already happened," said Lown.

The Learning Adventure turns everyday moments into learning moments.

"Parents are busy and often feel like they don't have enough quality time with their children. What we want to show is early learning can happen outside formal settings such as a school, museum or zoo. Learning can take place anytime, anywhere-even during a trip to the grocery store," Lown said.

The TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure will be on display indefinitely at Watertown Piggly Wiggly. Prompts will be changed periodically to keep the adventure fresh.

"There is science behind every activity. The activities encourage early literacy and math skills as well as social-emotional skills. Learning these skills when they are young will help them hit age-appropriate milestones in school and ultimately lead to positive life outcomes," Lown said.

Through the month of March, families who participate in the Learning Adventure are encouraged to check the TalkReadPlay Facebook page for challenges and a chance to win $25 Piggly Wiggly gift cards.

If this TalkReadPlay Learning Adventure pilot is successful, Every Child Thrives plans to expand the adventure to other area grocery stores.

With the goal of ensuring every child has the opportunity to thrive in health, learning and life, the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) has pledged more than $4 million in support of TalkReadPlay over the next five years. To learn more about TalkReadPlay and to access tips and tools for parents and caregivers visit www.TalkReadPlayWI.com.





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