September 12, 2022 - Blue Bookshelf Program

September 12th, 2022

Are you aware of United Way GWP’s Blue Bookshelf Program?  It is something we are very proud of and a big part of our Education Focus. We have books and shelves ready to go-but need places to place them. But why are we so interested in books for children? Why do we care that all children have access to lots and lots of books?


At United Way GWP, we know how important it is to encourage kids to read. Now, there's science to support our efforts to fill local homes with as many books as possible.


 A recent study published in the journal Social Science Research, found that raising a child in a home filled with books positively impacts their academic growth and job success. Specifically, the study found that when it comes to standardized tests, each book added to a home library helps children do better.

A home filled with books encourages a culture of reading for fun and talking about what children see and hear when sharing books with adults.


So, how many books are we talking about? The study shows literacy levels increase dramatically at 80 books. Being surrounded by lots and lots of books where they live helps children:


  • build vocabulary
  • increase awareness and comprehension
  • expand their horizons 


All of this benefits them in adulthood. The study's authors also found a strong connection  between homes filled of books and the following skills:


  • the ability to use mathematical concepts in everyday life
  •  the ability to use digital technology to communicate with others


 Books in the home make a difference beyond literacy.


Choosing which books are right for kids can be a little overwhelming. Here are four tips from Scholastic Books, to help you choose books your kids will love and that will keep the whole family reading from the day you bring home your new baby into their teen years. 


1.) Share Books You Loved as a Child 


Nothing models a love of reading better than your enthusiasm when sharing a book you loved from your own childhood. I’m dating myself here but I always loved when my mom read Make Way for Ducklings by  Robert McCloskey . I also enjoyed reading aloud to my younger siblings from any Dr Suess book. My own children loved The Knapping House by Don and Audrey Wood.


Think back to those stories that a parent, grandparent or a favorite teacher read to you when you were a child.



2.) Find Books That Match Your Child's Interests


Connecting kids with books they will love is one of the most fun challenges we have as parents of emerging readers and is so important in creating life-long readers. Think about topics your child enjoys or may even be obsessed with. It could be anything from garbage trucks (a favorite of my grandsons)  to zoo animals. Chances are, you can find a book about it.


3.)  Diversify your Bookshelves


A child may have a keen interest in a certain topic but aim for variety. Find books that kids can see themselves in, as well as books that will help them discover people and cultures around the world. Include a variety of genres of material including fiction and non-fiction, mysteries and graphic novels too.


4.)  Give Books to Celebrate Milestones and Accomplishments


Remember those moments in life such as turning double digits, winning a contest, or graduating from elementary school. Chances are you remember the people who celebrated with you or a special meal you shared. Why not link a specially chosen book to the memory? Then, when kids recall their memories about these events they will also connect a meaningful book to that time.



United Way’s Blue Bookshelf Program ensures that all children can have books at home with no cost to parents who cannot afford to purchase those books. If your group is interested in sponsoring a Blue Bookshelf in your community, give us a call! We have shelves ready to go!




Find more information here:



Virtual Community Forum - 'A Tale of 2 Viruses'


With the declaration of monkeypox as a public health emergency, many are wondering whether widespread outbreaks are possible, such as with COVID-19. While experts consider widespread outbreaks of monkeypox unlikely, it's important to learn about the illness and take precautions to control its spread.


Join Mayo Clinic Health System experts on Sept. 23 from noon to 1 p.m. CDT for the virtual community forum. The topic will be "A Tale of Two Viruses."


Raj Palraj, M.B.B.S., M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System infectious diseases specialist, will contrast monkeypox with COVID-19 and offer guidance to guard against both illnesses. Paul Mueller, M.D., regional vice president for Mayo Clinic Health System in Southwest Wisconsin, and Jennifer Livingston Thompson, community engagement director, will join Dr. Palraj. The panel will devote a significant portion of the program to community questions.


Participants need to register in advance for this free Zoom forum. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing a Zoom link. Participants should check their junk mail if they do not receive this email. 

Volunteer Needs

 5 Volunteers to work Sept. 27th Fare For All - 2:45 to 5 pm.

Call the United Way Office to Volunteer. 651-388-6309



We very much appreciate our generous business partners who donate supplies to us. However we are finding we don't have the storage space we had at our previous location. Due to this storage space concern, we have some never used supplies we would like to share with anyone who can put them to good use!



  • Clear Acrylic  business card holders
  • Clear Acrylic tri-fold or brochure holders
  • Clear Acrylic  4X6" free standing sign holders
  • Clear backpacks
  • Red Nylon Backpacks


If you have a use for any of these items

please call

Stacy Coyle, UWGWP Office Manager

at 651-388-6309




Thanks for reading!



Maureen Nelson