Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dolly Parton's Better Days Tour Benefits Imagination Library for Kids

Experts say children learn the most from ages 0 to 5, which is why the Dolly Parton Imagination Library works to put a book in the hands of all children.

Dolly PartonDolly Parton's Imagination Library program began in Tennessee in 1996 and eventually expanded to any community that would support it. The goal of the program is to promote literacy by providing a free book each month to children until their fifth birthday.

"Children who live in middle to upper-income families have 13 books to every child. For children in lower-income families, there are 300 children to every book," said United Way CEO Doug Eberhart.

Singer/Songwriter Dolly Parton performed during the "Better Day" World Tour opener at the Thompson-Boling Arena on July 17, 2011 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

It costs $35 per year per child. There are no income or household limits. And if you can't afford the cost of enrollment, don't worry. The United Way will cover it, thanks to donations. "For only 35 dollars, you're changing the life of a child," Eberhart said.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library comes to South Central Kentucky as part of the United Way's Invest in Success program. One of the organization's biggest partners in the program, is the Family Enrichment Center.
"Books give a way for parents to connect to their children and you know it's the basis for lifelong learning," said Executive Director, Nickie Jones. Jones says this gives children opportunities they may not have had, and is also a good opportunity for Mom and Dad.

The inaugural concert benefited Parton's Dollywood Foundation. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Imagination Library, providing educational opportunities to children in various communities.

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