Cayuga Community College’s Early Childhood Club donated $1,250 this spring to Imagination Library, a charitable organization developed by Dolly Parton that sends books to children.
More than 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 700,000 children each month. The program started in Cayuga County under the direction of Nancy Tehan, the SuccessBy6 coordinator. The kick-off was held in February 2008 during February Family Fun at the College. The innovative book distribution program provides free books to children from birth to age 5 in Cayuga County. There are currently 2,260 children enrolled in the program.
The Early Childhood Club implemented weekly cookie sales, a bake sale, a flower sale, and a “Bananagram” Fundraiser during the Week of the Young Child in April to raise funds for Imagination Library. The club chooses a community organization each year to receive monies from their fundraising efforts. Club Officers were Patricia Bennett (President), Sara Halpin (Secretary), Elizabeth Mossow (VP/Treasurer), and Lucinda Gioia (Cookie Chairperson).
“The members of the Early Childhood Club worked tirelessly this past year to support the community – through their volunteerism and their fundraising efforts – each and every one of them will be remembered for their dedication to young children,” said Professor of Early Childhood Education Patricia Gridley.
Imagination Library first began in East Tennessee in 1996, Parton’s home country. 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, thus inspiring children to feel the magic that books can create.
Due to the program’s popularity, the program was made available for replication to any community in 2000. Now, nearly 40,000,000 books have been mailed to children in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton's Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program. Further studies have shown improved scores during early literacy testing, according to the organization.