With United Way, Rotary expands Imagination Library across county

   PAW PAW - More kids under the age of five living in Van Buren County will get a jump start on school readiness with books mailed each month to their homes.
   After bringing Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to more than 300 pre-school children in the Paw Paw Public School District in 2018, the Paw Paw Area Rotary Club has now partnered with United Way of Southwest Michigan to expand this program beyond the school district to children throughout all of Van Buren County.
   “Two years ago, Paw Paw Rotarians began enrolling children in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, with the vision of encouraging other towns to support the program in their communities. This year, a generous donation from one individual, Leslie Ward, who was raised in Hartford, provided seed money to start the program in Hartford, and I’m excited that United Way of Southwest Michigan is going to continue our efforts," said Sue Danielson of the Paw Paw Area Rotary Club.
   Dolly Parton's Imagination Library brings books into children’s homes. From birth until they turn five years old, children enrolled in the program receive a new, age-appropriate book mailed to their home each month. By the time they enter kindergarten, children will have their own library of books and be more prepared to enter school and become lifelong readers.
   “We applaud Paw Paw Area Rotary Club for having the vision to start this important program in the area to instill a love of reading in kids at an early age and increase the chances of later success in school,” said Anna Murphy, president of United Way of Southwest Michigan.
    United Way of Southwest Michigan already offers Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to children residing in Berrien and Cass counties, providing this program free of charge to the children enrolled, regardless of financial need. The actual cost to provide this program to the community is $25 per year per child. These costs are covered by United Way, with additional support from grants and sponsorships, including from The Pokagon Fund, The McLoughlin Family Foundation, Lyons Industries, The Wood Foundation, Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, The De Groot Family Foundation, St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary Club Foundation, and The Frederick S. Upton Foundation.
   To learn more, sponsor a child, or register a child, visit https://www.uwsm.org/dpil.

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