SAGINAW, MI – Every month, nearly 2,000 children in and around Saginaw receive a free book in the mail thanks to the United Way of Saginaw County, donors and country music legend and pop culture icon Dolly Parton.
“We’ve been delivering Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for 10 years to the community, and, so, on average, we’re serving about 1,960 children with books (every month),” said Audra Davis, president and CEO of United Way of Saginaw County. Over the course of a decade, “that’s a pretty significant impact.”
Last year alone, 23,570 Dolly Parton Imagination Library books were delivered to Saginaw County children’s mailboxes. The free books children receive include classics, such as “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper, award-winners like “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, and newer titles, including “My Papi Has a Motorcycle” by Isabel Quintero .
“It’s unbelievable the quality and the number of books … just really beautiful reading material to get kids excited about getting books, reading books, touching, feeling using all of their senses to really introduce literacy and the love of literature,” Davis said . “(It’s increasing and encouraging the love for literacy that we want every kiddo in our community to embrace and enjoy.”.
Any child from birth through age 5 who lives in Saginaw County may enroll in the program to receive a free, age-appropriate book each month.
Thousands of Saginaw County children have benefited from the program since it began. Globally, nearly 2 million children are registered, and more than 176 million books have been gifted, according to imaginationlibrary.com. Parton was inspired to create Imagination Library her father, who could not read or write.
Saginaw County’s Imagination Library program is funded strictly through grants and private donations. The United Way’s campaign donations do not support it, Davis said. A $ 30 donation to the program provides one child with a year’s worth of books. Donations can be mailed to: United Way of Saginaw County Attn: Imagination Library 100 S. Jefferson Ave., 3rd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607.
For more information or to sign up to receive free books for your child, visit www.unitedwaysaginaw.org/imagination-library.
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