With a grant from the Sudbury Foundation, the Framingham-based United Way of Tri-County plan to launch Imagination Library, and early literacy program.
Imagination Library gives every registered preschool child a book a month, from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten, 60 books in total, delivered straight to their mailbox. Since 2001, the program has distributed more than 41.5 million books nationwide.
The Sudbury Foundation grant will provide resources to United Way of Tri-County, as they engage community stakeholders and develop business and fund development plans to support the launch of Imagination Library
for Framingham families with children age 0-5, providing them with an age appropriate book every month.
United Way of Tri-County sees this project as strongly aligned to their mission and goal of ensuring children are prepared to enter school and are reading at grade-level by the end of the third grade.
United Way Senior Vice President, Jen Maseda is excited about this opportunity. “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children," said Maseda, a mother of two under the age of 5. "We want to help all parents and children get comfortable with books in their homes. Reading to pre-school children is one of the most important things you can do for them and their future”
Together with members of the Early Childhood Alliance of Framingham (a program of the Framingham Public Schools), including Framingham State University’s Child Development Lab, SMOC Head Start, and the Framingham Public Schools, the United Way will develop an effective outreach plan to reach all young Framingham families, especially those low-income families facing challenges in the development of early literacy.
"More and more students are entering school without proper reading skills.
Without these skills, students struggle in all academic areas. We are always challenged as a school system to do more with less, so it is very important to partner with supportive community organizations, like the United Way of Tri-County," said Wilson Elementary Principal Robin Welch. "They provide the needed funding necessary for students to ensure greater opportunities for success. United Way of Tri-County has supported the students in this school in numerous ways and for that, I am eternally grateful.”
At the end of the one year capacity building phase, United Way of Tri-County will kick-off a plan that distributes books through Imagination Library to ensure all young Framingham families are ready for kindergarten and beyond.
In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee, USA. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.
So popular Dolly’s Imagination Library, that in 2000 she announced she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to nearly 40 million books mailed to children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom! More than 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 700,000 children every month.
For more information, or to find out how you can participate in this new program email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Maseda at 508-370-4831.