Aetna Better Health of Illinois Provides Grant to Support Erie House Literacy Program


September 30, 2016 | Chicago, IL

Aetna Better Health of Illinois Grant

From left to right: Jacqleen Musarra. Aetna Better Health of Illinois Community Liaison Manager; Cristina De La Rosa, Director of Adult Programs; Rachel Serra, LV READS Coordinator; Paula King, Director of Development; and Glenda Oakley, Aetna Better Health of Illinois Regional Chief Financial Officer FILE PHOTO

Erie Neighborhood House is pleased to announce it has received a $5,000 grant from Aetna Better Health of Illinois, a Medicaid health plan.
The grant will support the LV READS initiative, which provides after-school care and literacy intervention for children in grades 1 through 3 in Chicago’s Little Village community.

“We are extremely grateful for the support Aetna Better Health of Illinois is providing through this grant,” said Kirstin Chernawsky, executive director at Erie House.

According to Chernawsky, the grant will expand program capacity for LV READS to accommodate 50 students, up from the 26 students served last year. “That means 24 additional children are going to receive the vital support they need to grow as readers and succeed in school,” she explained. “That is a significant impact.”

Last year, READS helped 96 percent of students improve reading skills by at least one grade level; an astounding 34 percent improved by 2 whole grade levels.

In addition to the LV READS program, Erie House offers school-age programming in West Town and Humboldt Park to deliver academic support in a safe, nurturing environment.

The organization also provides early childhood education and programs for youth ages 12 to 18 as well as a variety of programs for adults and families, all of which aim to educate and empower participants—low-income, primarily Latino individuals—with the tools and resources they need to achieve a better life and take an active role in building stronger, healthier communities across the city of Chicago.

“Aetna Better Health is committed to building stronger communities,” said Lawrence Kissner, chief executive officer of Aetna Better Health of Illinois. “We know that health care is tied to quality of life issues like the ones Erie House is addressing every day. Erie Neighborhood House’s holistic programming supports the development of a healthy family system and provides an atmosphere that fosters individuality, which is strengthened by diversity. We are pleased to support its efforts to create an environment that presents health and wellness opportunities for all within the community.”

For more information on Erie House and its ten core programs, please visit

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Erie Neighborhood House (ENH) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that reaches 18,000 people annually, empowering them to build better lives while strengthening their communities. ENH offers Chicago’s Latinx and diverse low-income residents a range of community-based education programs. With forward-thinking leadership, ENH is committed to continuing its legacy of cost effective, award-winning programming. For more information, please visit

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