Submitted by United Way of Lewis County

Back in November of 2019, United Way of Lewis County, in partnership with the Lewis County Rotary Foundation, launched an early literacy program known globally in our community; Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This free monthly book-gifting program for children birth to five years old provides age-appropriate, high-quality books on a monthly basis to children who are enrolled in the program, at no charge.

Through the partnership with United Way and the three local Rotary Clubs, over 2,000 local children have had the opportunity to sign up and receive books through the new program. For the first year of the program, the goal of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was to have 20% of the eligible children under the age of five signed up and the local program has far exceeded that goal, reaching 46% in its first year. To date, over 15,400 books have been mailed out to local kids enrolled.

Chehalis Rotary
A donation of just $25 sponsors a local child with a free book every month for an entire year or $125 for five years. Photo courtesy: Chehalis Rotary

“The purpose of Rotary is to improve life on this planet that we all share through programs and projects that provide that improvement. Giving children the opportunity to be exposed to reading at an early age and thus increase literacy thru the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program is one of those projects,” says Chehalis Rotarian Dr. John Henricksen. “The joint effort of United Way of Lewis County in conjunction with the three Rotary Clubs in Chehalis and Centralia has proven to be the perfect vehicle to make this effort an outstanding success in Lewis County.”

Any child under five years old that resides in Lewis County can sign up for the program at no cost. Due to COVID-19, enrollment is available online.

“I think that it’s important for kids to be encouraged to reach, to dream, and to plan for a better life and better future. The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has helped to do just that – one book, and one child at a time,” states Debbie Campbell, Executive Director of United Way of Lewis County.

Funding for this literacy program has come from many generous community supporters, local businesses, fundraising events, and from the Lewis County Rotary Foundation. A substantial initial donation from the three local Rotary of $20,000 kick-started the program here in Lewis County.

A $25 donation will sponsor one year of books for a child enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. If you would like to donate to the program, text DOLLYBOOKS4KIDS to 44-321 and start impacting the lives of local kids today.

For more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, call 360-748-8100 or email development@lewiscountyuw.com.

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