The Colquitt County School District is the recipient of two Community Impact Grants from the United Way. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) received $10,000, and the Baby Packer Welcome Kits $8,000.
The DPIL launched in the fall of 2021 in Colquitt County. Under the program, DPIL sends an age-appropriate book for each registered child in the county, absolutely free to the family monthly. Children are eligible to receive the books until they turn five. There are currently 931 children in the county receiving monthly books. Over 8000 books have been mailed this year alone.
The Baby Packer Welcome Kits are provided to parents of newborns at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. The kits include a Packer onesie, a book, a baby toothbrush, information on signing up for the DPIL program, and more. Hospital volunteers hand deliver the kits, explain what is in them, and assist parents with signing up for the DPIL program. The kits come in English and Spanish. Children who sign up at birth receive 60 books by the time they turn five, creating an excellent at-home library.
Dr. Nick Chastain, who led the initiative to begin both programs, stated, "The feedback from parents for both programs has been excellent. Parents state that getting the monthly book delivery at home is their children's highlight of the day. Hospital staff have communicated that new parents love getting the Welcome Kits. We thank the United Way for supporting these important early literacy programs."
The United Way supports and creates community-based and community-led solutions to community health, education, and financial stability issues. United Way Executive Director Caroline Horne said, "Dolly Parton's Imagination Library provides an efficient and effective strategy to promote literacy and a love of reading in Colquitt County. The Welcome Kits provide an immediate introduction to reading upon the arrival of a newborn. I am thrilled these valuable resources are available to parents and children in our community".
Ben Wiggins, Superintendent of Colquitt County Schools, shared, "The United Way and the school district have a long history of working together to enhance the lives of each student, their family, and our employees through various programs. We appreciate Mrs. Horne, her board, and UW supporters for helping us continue these programs."
Improving early childhood literacy with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library creates opportunities for children to thrive and succeed in school, helping their communities grow and prosper. To register your child, please visit https://www.colquitt.k12.ga.us/departments/pre-k/index.