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'Every Hour Counts' Looks to Meet Childcare and Family Needs in the Lakeland Area

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Every Hour Counts is a group of community members working with the Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Health and Advancement to identify what the needs of families are. They’re focused on the Lakeland area.

Ryan Zietlow is Every Hour Counts’ Co-Chair of the steering committee. He says afterschool and summertime programs can help children and families succeed in life.

“We know through environments such as what the YMCA and other such organizations can provide that we can give these youths a strong place with strong mentors around them that will help them grow,” said Zietlow. “It provides the family the opportunity to know that they’re in a safe space, getting that additional support that they may need outside of the school day.”

Childcare can also play a role in economic development. Zietlow says the childcare business is not a lucrative one.

It can be hard to pay staff a livable wage without putting a burden on families.

“It really is a lot of conversations about childcare affordability and accessibility, especially in rural communities. They need to have some long-term conversations and dialogue about what does it look like long term for childcare to support economic and community development,” said Zietlow.

Right now, the group is working to develop set of strategies and goals to help provide direction. It wants community feedback to help form that direction.

It’s asking people to complete a survey.

“We want to ensure that as we dive through as an Every Hour Counts group that we are identifying the highest needs and beginning to put strategies in place that can make long term sustainable programming and opportunity there,” said Zietlow.

There is one survey focused on parents and caregivers and another for community partners.

“You know that gap between what’s important and how satisfied our community is will give us an indication of what’s important for us to dive into. We do know just from early responses on how the surveys are coming back that there is a significant need for out of school time opportunities for kids,” said Zietlow.

Zietlow says they’ve already got more than 130 responses and the more they data and details they get, the better.

You can find a link to the surveys on the Minocqua Chamber website.