Dolly Parton foundation partnering with Circle of Care
Published 9:54 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) is coming to Chamber’s County. Through the Circle of Care, DPIL mails free books to children ages five and under once a month. Chamber is one of sixty counties in Alabama currently enrolled in the program.
The announcement comes after Governor Kay Ivey kicked off a state-wide expansion of the DPIL. The program in Chambers is a partnership between the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (DECE), Representative Debbie Wood, Senator Randy Price and Circle of Care Center for Families. The Center will act as the “local affiliate” enrolling the county’s children and promoting the program within the community.
“We just believe that children deserve their best start and we know that time spent being either read to or read with, you know, important adults in their lives just has positive impacts on their outcomes,” said Circle of Care’s Kae Costley.
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Through DPIL, over 200 million books have been sent to children across the country. With the recent addition of Chambers, Cherokee, and Morgan counties, around 10,000 new kids will be eligible to enroll.
“As a young child, I experienced difficulty with speech, and books became an incredible source of inspiration during my speech therapy. I will always be grateful for Governor Ivey’s commitment to ensuring that books are made available to children in Alabama,” stated State Representative for Valley, Debbie Wood, in the Governor’s press release.
DPIL covers the cost of the logistics and distribution of the books while providing a database for the Center to use. They find local partners to help keep the program going. The affiliate pays a fee per child registered to the non-profit. Costley says the Center has signed onto the program for at least five years. The funding for the first year is secured through its partners, Alabama DECE, Wood and Price. The Center will be looking for additional community partners and fundraising opportunities to ensure funding for the program.
The Circle of Care is a part of the Chambers County Children’s Policy Council. When learning about the Governor’s push to see every county work with DPIL, they began the search for community partners that wanted to be an affiliate. Having found no takers, the Center decided they would take the lead.
“It’s kind of a win-win. We really couldn’t say no to it, because kids definitely do better when they have books and they’re introduced to reading at earlier and earlier ages…We want to get as many children in Chambers County enrolled as we can,” said Costley.
Many research studies have shown that students who read outside of school, or even those who have high numbers of books in their homes tend to have higher reading scores. Costley said the act of a parent or adult reading to a child is a great time to engage.
They announced the program on Tuesday through a post on the Circle of Care Facebook post. In the same post, anyone interested can find a QR code where adults can register a child in their lives. There is also an option to register on the DPIL website: imaginationlibrary.com.