Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Darke County United Way Receives Grants for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library

The Darke County United Way recently received three grant awards for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program provides a free book every month to children ages 5 years old or younger. There are only two criteria to be enrolled in the program. The first is the child must live in Darke County and the second is he/she must be 5 years old or younger. No other criteria are required for this program.

According to a study conducted in April 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults in the U.S. can't read. That's 14% of the population. 21% of adults in the U.S. read below a 5th grade level, and 19% of high school graduates cannot read. Dolly Parton created the Dolly Parton Imagination Library with the intent to combat illiteracy in the United States. The purpose of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is to foster a love of reading among preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, children will be excited about books and feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, the program ensures that every child will have books, regardless of their family’s income.

The Darke County United Way received grant awards from the Greenville Rotary Club ($1,500) and the Darke County Foundation ($1,100) for Darke County children as well as the Ruth and Emerson Booher Advised Fund ($2,000) for Versailles children. These awards will allow the Darke County United Way to serve approximately 177 children this year. Currently, 808 children in Darke County receive a book each month.

“There are over 3,000 children currently living in Darke County who are 5 years old or younger. We are only serving 27% of the eligible children in our community. We’ve only scratched the surface with what this program can do. We are extremely grateful for the grant awards we have received but we are aware we still have work to do,” said Christy Baker, Executive Director for the Darke County United Way. Baker added that in order for all 3,000+ children to receive a book every month, the Darke County United Way would need to raise nearly $80,000.

To enroll your children or for information in how you can get involved through a financial gift towards the program, contact the Darke County United Way at 547-1272.

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