Arkansas Preschool Plus representatives met with Sen. Jason Rapert Thursday to accept a $10,000 grant from the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District for Conway’s school readiness early literacy program, Imagination library.
Founder and Executive Director Charlotte Green said Rapert supports Arkansas Preschool Plus and the program.
"That support allowed us to receive the $10,000 to put books in the home of children ages [zero to five] at no cost to families," she said.
Green said they currently deliver more than 700 books per month to Faulkner County, but still have close to 500 kids on a waiting list.
Program Director Michelle Ford the grant will fund Faulkner County’s Imagination Library. She said each $25 donated will provide a book a month for each child for a year.
Arkansas Preschool Plus became an official sponsor for Imagination Library in Conway — which was launched in 1996 by Dolly Parton, in 2014 — and for the entire county plus Perry and County counties in 2016.
Parton originally started the program as a way to benefit the children in East Tennessee, her home.
"Dolly’s 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," the Arkansas Preschool Plus website stated. "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."
Since launching in the U.S., the Imagination Library has grown to nearly 40,000,000 books mailed across the country and into Canada and other countries.
Now, more than 1,600 local communities provide to around 700,000 children every month.
"Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program," the website stated.
Registration for the program is open to Faulkner, Conway or Perry County residents who have one or more children ages birth to five years old. To enroll, visit www.ImaginationLibrary.com.
For more information on sponsoring a child or participating as a corporate sponsor, contact Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org.