Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc: Teaching adults to read and changing their worlds – one person at a time

MARSHFIELD – Have you ever thought about how hard it would be to live your everyday life if you didn’t know how to read, write or speak English?

Literacy affects every aspect of life and directly impacts our ability to work, care for our families by providing food and shelter, secure safe transportation, and even understand health care information, including health insurance coverage.

The Portage County Literacy Council (PCLC) in Stevens Point works with adults who want to improve their reading, writing and/or math skills. They offer one-on-one tutoring and small group sessions free of charge to people with all kinds of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds throughout Portage County – including immigrants and refugees learning English, and native speakers with a learning difference, lack of education, or any other reason.

Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc., along with Marshfield Clinic Health System, recently donated funds to PCLC, most of which will go directly toward the costs of running their adults tutoring programs.

“We are very thankful for our community partners, like Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan, whose generous donation will go directly towards supporting PCLC programs and services. We could not do this work without them!” said Shannon O’Donnell, Co-Director of the PCLC.

PCLC helps adult learners increase their ability to read and understand materials that can have a huge impact on their family’s health and wellness. A person’s ability to read and write in English in order to understand health care information is directly linked to their health outcomes and costs. ProLiteracy, the largest adult literacy and basic education membership organization in the nation, reports that over $230 billion in health care costs each year are linked to low adult literacy.

“Literacy expands the ways in which adults can participate in our community, as well as making essential services, like health care, more accessible. Our community is full of such wonderful neighbors, parents, co-workers, students, and friends who come to us as learners and volunteer tutors,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell also shared that a great upcoming fundraiser for PCLC is their Words & Friends for Literacy event. It’s essentially a huge Scrabble tournament, where teams get together and play collectively against each other. It’s the largest fundraiser of the year and their biggest source of income.

“Words and Friends for Literacy will continue to be a fun and flexible event in the virtual space this year. It’s free to register a team, and participants will have the option to share pictures of themselves playing word games of their choice one day or every day to be entered to win a gift card from local restaurants,” said O’Donnell.

It is free to sign up a team of any number by going to The PCLC will post a word game challenge on their Facebook page every day at 10 a.m. April 25-29. Teams who send a photo of themselves participating in the daily challenge by 8 p.m. that day have the opportunity to win a daily prize.

In early May, PCLC will announce the top three fundraising teams and award prizes.

Security Health Plan is pleased to support this organization that is finding such creative ways to fundraise, and who works to provide such critical skill development for so many people.