(November 29, 2016) - United Way of Southern Kentucky announced today that preschool children currently enrolled in Hart County’s five elementary schools as well as Caverna Elementary will now be enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program. A brief ceremony was held at Legrande Elementary today as a kickoff to the registrations.

“We decided to hold the kickoff here at Legrande Elementary because their Beta Club was among the many volunteers who helped us raise the funds making these registrations possible,” explains Hart County Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Devine. The Hart County Chamber has raised over $5,000 for the program this year through special events such as their Imagination Library Fun Fest held in August as well as monetary donations made by individuals and businesses. The ceremony began at 10 a.m. and included the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation to the Beta Club for their efforts.

“We decided at our Board retreat in January to assist with this program because reading is the foundation for a good education and therefore a successful life and career,” explains Devine.  “We are pleased to be able to support a project that inspires a child’s love of reading and helps to ensure they have access to quality books at home.”  Chamber Board members and other volunteers visited each of the benefitting elementary schools today to read to the preschool classes and assist with the registrations.

United Way of Southern Kentucky’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program puts books in the hands of local children to assist in fostering a love for reading, better preparing children for kindergarten. All children from newborn to age five are eligible to register for the program in their respective counties thanks to generous donations such as that of the Hart County Chamber of Commerce.  Once registered, each child will receive one age-appropriate book mailed directly to their home each month until the age of 5 free of charge to the families.

 “We are grateful for the Chamber’s generosity,” says Keshia Ingram, Director of Community Impact for the United Way of Southern Kentucky. “It is critical to support early literacy efforts and to ensure all young children get the best start possible.”

The library was initiated in east Tennessee in 1995 by Dolly Parton. Since its inception, over 83 million books have been distributed to children across four countries. Thus far, more than 115,000 books have been mailed to nearly 6,300 children across Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe and Warren Counties. 

Support of programs like United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program is just one way that United Way is working to reach its Big Bold Goal in Education of increasing BRADD Kindergarten Readiness scores from 49.4% to 75% by the year 2020.

For more information about Early Childhood Education, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at www.liveunitedtoday.com.  

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.

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