Michelle Balleck & Corrie Ponikvar: Thank you to libraries, funders, families

To the editor:

On Nov. 8 in Craig, Nov. 13 in Rangely and Nov. 14 in Meeker, Connections 4 Kids and Moffat County Youth United Way launched the amazing program Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

We have been thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this terrific opportunity to our communities’ youngest members thanks to funding through Yampa Valley Community Foundation and the Colorado Department of Human Services.

And the response from local families has equaled our enthusiasm – thus far, we have enrolled more than 300 children in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties in Imagination Library so that they can receive a free book in the mail every month until their fifth birthday.

We want to thank Yampa Valley Community Foundation and the Colorado Department of Human Services for funding this program at the local level and Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation for providing the infrastructure for this program at that national level.

Thank you to Moffat County Libraries, Rangely Regional Library and Meeker Public Library for being wonderful partners in the project by hosting the program launches during story times.

Special thanks to our wonderful community readers who shared books from the program with children during these story times ⎯ Kay Bivens in Meeker, Rita Reich in Rangely and Kathy Duran, Lila Herod, Randy Looper and Judi Whilden in Craig.

We have been astounded by the response we’ve received from families about this program and are thrilled to be able to get books in the hands of our communities’ young readers. In just eight days, our enrollment percentage of eligible children exceeded what the national organization projects for the end of year 2.

Because of the overwhelming response, we need to temporarily suspend registration in the program while we seek additional dollars to continue to make this program available locally.

Our goal is to get quality reading material in the hands of our communities’ young readers and build a foundation of literacy in children before they enter classroom doors. Thank you to families for your enthusiasm around this project and for your understanding while we temporarily suspend registration.

And thank you to all of our partners for helping us to make Imagination Library a reality for our communities’ children.

Michelle Balleck, Connections 4 Kids coordinator

Corrie Ponikvar, Moffat County Youth United Way advisor

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