United Way celebrates Dolly Parton Imagination Library

| May 21, 2019

Three year old Kreston Mills is pictured with his grandmother, Mary Ann Lauvray, and “Dolly Parton” (AKA Jeannie Stokes) at the United Way Book event on Saturday, May 18. The event was to celebrate Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and children in Coshocton County receiving 100,000 books in the last 10 years. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – In the last 10 years, 100,000 books have been given to children in Coshocton County thanks to the United Way and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

The imagination library was started by Parton in her hometown near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and has now spread across the country and even other countries. More than 100 million books have been sent to children ages birth to age five.

On Saturday, May 18, the United Way held an event on the court square to celebrate reaching 100,000 books and to thank more than a dozen local sponsors that help the United Way cover the $25 cost for each child. There is no cost for the program to the family.

Erin Slaughter, executive assistant for the United Way, said, “Any child can sign up for the books. They will receive one book a month until they turn five. Families can sign up online or they can call our office and we will get them signed up. Each book is age appropriate. We have about 1,000 children in Coshocton that get books each month. It usually takes about 10 weeks for the kids to get their first book.  Kids like it because it comes in the mail with their name on it.”

Tom Heading, president of the United Way, said, “The program also makes sure that if there is more than one child in the family, different books are sent. By the time the children all turn five the family will have a large library of books.”  Heading also shared that he feels it’s never too early to start reading to children.  “Readers are Leaders.”

Children who attended the event could bring a book to swap for a new one, make a bracelet, color a bookmark, or make a caterpillar craft. Face painting and candy was also available and “Dolly Parton” AKA Jeannie Stokes, was available for pictures with the children. Sponsors were presented certificates. The Coshocton Public Library was also there to help children sign up for the summer reading program.

Kreston Mills, 3, attended the event with his grandmother, Mary Ann Lauvray.  “He has been enrolled since he was six months old and looks forward to getting his book every month. When asked, Kreston said his favorite book was “Spiders” and he asked for a spider to be painted on his cheek. Lauvray said the name of the book he called “spiders” is “Walter’s Wonderful Web.”

Heading said that anyone who would like to sponsor a child could contact the United Way office. The cost is only $25.




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