In 2008, a group of community leaders opted in to the program, which was started by singer Dolly Parton in 1996 in Sevier County, Tenn.
The aim of the program is to put age-appropriate books in the hands of children age birth through 5 years. Children enrolled in the free program receive one book a month through the mail.
Here, the program is chaired by Scott Sutherland and co-chaired by Brenda Southwick. It operates through the Trigg County Public Schools Educational Foundation and receives sponsorships from local organizations, businesses and individuals.
To cover the cost of the program, approximately $15,000 a year must be raised, and the group is currently soliciting donations for this year.
The program provides high-quality books at a low cost – an average of $2.10 including postage – because Parton’s Dollywood Foundation delivers over half a million books, allowing them to be purchased at a reduced price.
And so far, the results are clear.
In the four years the program has existed here, over 28,000 books have been delivered, and 80 percent of this year’s Kindergarten class at Trigg County has received books through the program.
The program delivered 573 books last month with a goal of averaging 600 per month.
Before 2008, it was clear to the group of community leaders who helped institute the program here that there was a need for better pre-K preparation for children in Trigg County.
With research stating that children raised with books in the home will enter school with a vocabulary seven times that of a child who doesn’t, and with Imagination Library’s ability to provide books regularly at a low price, it was obvious which organization was the best fit in Trigg County.
I can vouch for the value of pre-K preparation. Because of developmental delays, our son Brody was able to receive educational assistance before he was 3 years old. He also completed two years of pre-school before beginning Kindergarten. He regularly took part in learning opportunities that would better prepare him for school, and the results are amazing.
I understand that our situation is very different, that many parents can’t afford or don’t have a child who qualifies for such preparation before Kindergarten. That’s why something like Imagination Library is so vital. Children can be enrolled in the program at no charge, and all they need is a parent or another supportive individual to spend some time with them and read.
Contributions are tax deductible and may be mailed to the Trigg County Imagination Library at 202 Main Street, Cadiz, KY 42211. For more info, call Sutherland at 522-3263 or Southwick at 522-6075.
Justin McGill is executive editor of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.