Child Care Partnership Family Engagement Success

Walter Trueh is a three-year-old student at Jo’s Learning Academy – one of Next Door’s 11 Early Head Start Child Care Partnership sites in Milwaukee. His mother, Vernelle, says they never miss a chance to get on Next Door’s Books for Kids Mobile Library when the crew stops by with free books to help children build their home libraries.

“He didn’t want to leave the first time we went on. Honestly, we were here until the crew had to go,” Vernelle recalled with a laugh.

She says Walter’s eyes light up with joy when he gets on the Mobile Library and he loves sharing the experience with other children. She still remembers the first book Walter selected  – a Spanish version of the story, “I Like it When,” by Mary Murphy. The tale features a young penguin and the different things he likes to do.

“Everybody had to know about that book and everybody had to read him that book,” Vernelle said. “When we traveled out of the country, we had to take the book.”

The Books for Kids Mobile Library visits the partner sites, like Jo’s Learning Academy, four times a year. In addition to the book distribution, the crew hosts fun, literacy-themed activities for children and families.

These Mobile Library visits are one of piece of the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership program Next Door leads through a federal grant. The goal of the program is to raise the quality of learning and care at each partner site to increase family access to strong early childhood programming in Milwaukee.

Beyond the Mobile Library, the partnership offers Next Door instructional coaches for teachers and professional development opportunities. To read more about EHS-CCP and our other partners, check out our 2018 Report to the Community, which features Walter and Vernelle!

Vernelle says reading was a big part of her childhood and shaped who she is today. As a mother, she’s working hard to ensure reading is big part of her son’s life, too, through experiences like the Books for Kids Mobile Library.

“This is something that we’re always going to come to. If I’m not here, I have a family member come and get Walter and make sure he goes,” Vernelle said.