El Dorado News

Saturday
May 27, 2017
El Dorado News Times

Proceeds from ‘Power of the Purse’ event to go to Imagination Library program

By Kaitlyn Rigdon
This article was published May 18, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

By Kaitlyn Rigdon

Staff Writer

EL DORADO — Alexis Alexander, executive director of the United Way of Union County, spoke to the El Dorado Kiwanis Club on Wednesday about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program and the ‘Power of the Purse’ fundraiser event, which is taking place tonight at 6 p.m.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library program was started by Dolly Parton in 1995 and allows children, birth to five-years-old, to receive a free book once a month for no cost to the parent.

By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to homes, Parton 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, according to the Imagination Library website.

If you enroll a child at birth and do not leave the program until the child turns five, the child will receive a collection of 60 books.

“The sooner we can get those books home, the better we think it will be,” Alexander said. “We think it guarantees that children will have quality books in the home, which is important because we want these children to be successful.”

The United Way of Union County funds the program and there are currently 1,258 children enrolled in Union County. The program was started in Union County in 2011 and since then, over 50,000 books have been sent out in the county.

The books are free for the parents, but ultimately cost the United Way around $25 per child, per year, Alexander said.

“That’s costing the United Way about $2,600 a month,” she said. “It’s a great investment we feel for our community and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Studies show that this program inspires families to read more frequently to their children. More than 25 percent of the families who are in the program say that Imagination Library books are the primary source of books in their home.

“We are finding that more families that read to their children, lead to the children being better prepared for school,” Alexander said.

The United Way of Union County is able to fund this program through donated funds.

The United Way will be hosting the third annual Power of the Purse event tonight at the Granite Club starting at 6 p.m. All proceeds will go directly to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. Tickets for the event are $35.

There will be a fashion show from local merchants, a silent auction, which includes designer purses and other items, hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and entertainment.

“It’s a fun event and it will help continue the Dolly Parton Imagination Library book program so we can continue sending those books to children and helping them increase their love of reading and their literacy level as they get ready to start kindergarten,” Alexander said.

For tickets, you can call the United Way of Union County at (870) 862-4903. You can also reach Alexis Alexander by email at alexis@unitedwayunioncounty.com.

You can register you child/children for the Imagination Library program online at www.imaginationlibrary.com.

Kaitlyn Rigdon is a staff writer at the El Dorado News-Times and she may be reached at 870-862-6611 or by email, krigdon@eldoradonews.com.

story text created on Wednesday 5/17/2017 at 6:14:02 pm by Kaitlyn Rigdon

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