Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is available for youngsters throughout the Alleghany Highlands, thanks to the generosity of The Alleghany Foundation.
This project provides free books to children in Alleghany County or Covington until their fifth birthday. Currently, the program — a collaboration between the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers, the Alleghany Highlands Regional Library in Covington and the Clifton Forge Public Library — assists approximately 530 children.
“We want to ensure that no child slips through the cracks,” said Alleghany Highlands YMCA CEO Jennifer Unroe. “The goal of this early childhood literacy project is to put books into the hands of children who otherwise may not have access to reading materials.”
It is a well-known fact that many children enter school unprepared. When this occurs, they tend to fall further and further behind. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a proven program for improving literacy and overall school performance. Plus, it’s free and quite easy to access.
To enroll, parents or guardians must complete an official registration form and return it to the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers. Eight to 10 weeks after the registration form is processed, books will begin arriving at the child’s home and will continue each month, until that child turns five or moves away from Alleghany County or the city of Covington. If an address changes, contact the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers to update new address information.
“All you have to do is read to your children,” said Amanda Marshall, director of the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers. “Telling someone about this free program can make a huge difference in the future of their children and the future of our community.”
Listening to her mother read Bible stories inspired Dolly Parton to launch her Imagination Library in 1995 from Sevier County, Tenn. Today, over 1.8 million children are enrolled in the program, and nearly 170 million books have been distributed.
“This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in your community,” Parton said. “”There is nothing quite like the sparkle in a child’s eye when animals come alive and clowns dance on the page.”
Paper registration forms to enroll a child in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library are available at the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers or through the libraries in Clifton Forge and Covington.
Businesses, organizations or individuals who wish to donate funds to support this gift to children should contact the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Early Learning Centers, headquartered at the Alleghany Highlands YMCA in Low Moor. For more information, call (540) 962-9622.