Healthy Children Can Learn

A progress report from the SOPHIA

Education Committee – March, 2009

by Mike Hanna, Chair

The SOPHIA organization has long cared greatly about children and about schools. As people of faith, we believe it is our responsibility to work for a society that values all children, and that gives every child a real opportunity to succeed. Among the many areas that affect student achievement is health. Simply, children who are sick or in pain cannot learn. Healthy children are much more likely to do well in school.

Children from low-income families most often suffer from untreated health issues. Whatever the cause of the lack of health care, the children suffer. The only place we can be sure to find the children in need of help is in the schools.
In Waukesha County, the largest number of children from low-income families is in the City of Waukesha Schools.
Over a year ago, SOPHIA approached Aurora to ask that they also consider offering services to Waukesha school children as part of their “community benefits” commitment. Working with the school district, we offered them a list of the most urgent needs: psychiatric care and counseling for children with serious mental health problems; help with medication for children in need; additional school nurses. Initially, Aurora’s representatives seemed interested and offered to begin a dialogue on the matter. SOPHIA, the Waukesha School District and Aurora Health Care met at the offices of the school district in February with no advancement on the Aurora services proposal.

As of today, March 21, Aurora has not identified a single, concrete way in which they would be willing to help in this area. Aurora has confirmed, via email on March 9, that the Corporate Community Benefits Director, Mark Huber, and our Regional Community Benefits Director, Jennifer Tarantino, are still looking for ways to provide services. The SOPHIA Education Committee sincerely hopes that Aurora Health Care will see fit to make some sort of real contribution to the health of Waukesha County’s neediest children. Waukesha County has become a major area of expansion for Aurora. We trust that Aurora will invest in our people, not just in new buildings.

SOPHIA is committed to this action and will pursue all available options to insure that Aurora Health Care participates in a Waukesha County benefits program in a meaningful way.