By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Jun 09, 2014 at 2:03 PM

It's kids and family week here at and, more than ever, we'll feature articles and blogs about children's health, education, travel, fun and more. Kids and family week is brought to you by Aurora Health Care.

One of my favorite players to deal with on a weekly basis up in Green Bay is Micah Hyde. When it comes to breaking down what's happening on the field, he's a go-to. So I wasn't surprised to see that he'll be at the Germantown Community Library tonight, reading to students.

Now, I know community involvement is a big part of every sports franchise and its respective coaches and athletes, but considering it's "kids and family week" on the site, I felt it was important to highlight his appearance, which signals the start of the larger "Leap into Reading" program that has been developed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Packers, Packers and the Edvest College Savings Plan.

It's meant to encourage children to read during the summer, and more than 240 Wisconsin public libraries will take part in the program. 

Children who participate in the program will have a chance to win the following:

  • 20  grand prizes of Edvest college savings accounts valued at $1,000 each (one winner in each library system and three at-large winners)
  • 4 tickets (for each grand prize winner) to Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field
  • $500 to each winning library

According to release sent out about the program, it was developed to stem "summer reading loss," which can put students two years behind their classmates by the end of sixth grade. 

Children can be entered into the summer reading activities and events at local libraries, as well as clicking here. The entry period runs June 6-July 20.

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.