(September 28, 2018) –JPS Wealth Advisors of Hilliard Lyons will be sponsoring the enrollment of all children age two and under currently attending Liberty Kids Child Care into United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program to begin receiving one book per month mailed directly to their homes until the age of five free of charge to the families. JPS Wealth Advisors of Hilliard Lyons will continue to sponsor these children enrolled in the program each year for the next four years until each child graduates from the program at age five.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was initiated in east Tennessee in 1995 by Dolly Parton. Since its inception, over 103 million books have been distributed to children across four countries.  Recognizing the need to strengthen and support early literacy efforts and to ensure all young children get the best start possible, United Way of Southern Kentucky brought Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to Southern Kentucky in 2011. Support of the Imagination Library from generous contributions like those made by JPS Wealth Advisors of Hilliard Lyons help to ensure that children in our communities have access to books, thereby increasing their chance for future success. Thus far, more than 228,000 books have been mailed to 10,146 children across Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, and Warren Counties.

The Imagination Library program increases the accessibility of age-appropriate books in all households. The first book mailed to each child is “The Little Engine That Could” and upon graduating the program, the month the child turns 5, they receive “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.”  When age-appropriate books are accessible in the home, children gain an appreciation for reading and are better prepared for kindergarten. The program is designed to build a stronger community by ensuring all children have access to the essential tools to build stronger literacy skills.  

The Imagination Library program also encourages early reading, which is essential for language and cognitive development in young children. Research shows access to age-appropriate reading materials in low-income households is severely insufficient.  According to national data, 75 percent of children who are reading below grade level in third grade will remain behind in high school. In addition, children from low-income families are three times more likely to have dropped out of school by the ages of 16-19 because of the educational barriers they encounter.  By giving children from all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to develop necessary early learning skills, they are getting a boost towards lifelong education success.

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 53.3% to 75% by the year 2020.

“The JPS team is honored and excited to have the opportunity to sponsor the DPIL program for a classroom at Liberty Kids Day Care,” says Shawn Perry, Sr. Vice President & Wealth Advisor at JPS Wealth Advisors. “We really enjoyed spending this summer’s United Way Day of Caring at the day care reading to the kids and decided we wanted to do more.  To me, reading and learning are synonymous so my hope is that this encourages each of the children to grow up loving books, reading and learning as much as they can. Ultimately, we are investing in the future of our own community. We look forward to watching them grow over the coming years.”

For more information about United Way’s work in Education and how you can join the fight to give all children in Southern Kentucky the best start for a successful future, visit the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at  

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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