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Chelsea Clinton makes stop in Milwaukee to tour new reading space for children

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 21:16:01-05

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee’s Office of Early Childhood Initiatives is working to give everyone access to a book by installing “Family Read, Play and Learn” spaces in spots where children have downtime.

It’s a part of a collaborative effort with the Clinton Foundation to bring early literacy opportunities to youth in the area.

On Friday, Chelsea Clinton joined local officials for the revealing of the foundation’s first reading space in a children’s court at the Juvenile Justice Center in Milwaukee.

In the past, when Mesheokia White went to the court, she would have no other choice but to bring her kids. There was one problem though, how would she occupy their time?

"There was nothing for them to do but climb up the walls,” White said.

She should not have that issue anymore.

Milwaukee’s Office of Early Childhood Initiatives installed a new space filled with toys and books to entertain kids.

“We're really committed to doing everything we can to help parents, grandparents and other caregivers really be their kids’ first teacher, so that every kid shows up ready for kindergarten, ready to learn, and hopefully also ready to thrive,” Clinton said.

Dea Wright is leading the initiative in the city.

In the fall, her office opened the first of these nooks in Milwaukee at Riverworks Coin Laundry in Riverwest.

She dreams of having them at the DMV, grocery stores and bus stops.

“Milwaukee's going to be a place where you can't go anywhere without saying, ‘dang it, I got to talk, read and sing. I got to talk, read and sing,’” Wright said. “So above diaper changing tables, you name it, we're going to do it.”

In the meantime, White will make sure to use the spot at the children’s court next time she's there.

“Now there's something for them to do and it's a good thing cause it's educational too,” White said.

Wright already has plans to open five more of the reading spaces in laundromats by the end of March.

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