Sedona AZ (June 18, 2013) – Several Saturday shoppers at Webber’s IGA found a bargain they could not refuse: free books mailed to their pre-school kids every month until they turn five. Sitting at a table covered with books and balloons, was a friendly Rotarian ready to explain the Imagination Library. Some parents with children already registered in the program stopped to tell the Rotarians how excited their child is each month when a book comes in the mail addressed to him/her.
Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek are served by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library through the generosity of The Rotary Club of Sedona. A free, age appropriate book is sent to each child that is registered to receive books every month until they turn five. Children can be signed up for the program as soon as they are born.
Registration forms for the Imagination Library can be found at the Sedona Public Library, the Food Bank, Head Start, most daycare centers or by going on-line to www.imaginationlibrary.com. There will also be a special sign-up table in front of Webber’s IGA from 8 am to 5 pm Saturday, June 29.
The Rotary Club of Sedona has a long history of supporting education and encouraging literacy at all levels. In late 2011 The Club became aware of importance of reaching children even before they enter kindergarten. The Club’s New Generations Committee poured over early childhood development studies that concluded that an amazing 90% of the architecture of the brain — creativity and the processing of information — is established by the age of three. The conclusion was obvious. More needed to be done to help families stimulate and exercise their children’s brains during the years leading up to entry into traditional elementary schools.
The Imagination Library was the brain-child of country music singer-song writer, Dolly Parton. The Dollywood Foundation handles the national responsibilities: assembling a team of renowned educators and early childhood development specialists to carefully select the books. The Foundation operates a national website and handles program administration. The Rotary Club of Sedona takes it from there. The Club registers children locally, raises money to pay for the books and postage and makes sure the program runs smoothly in our community.
To date the Rotary Club of Sedona has registered over 250 children in Sedona and VOC for the program. Every month a new Imagination Library book arrives in the mail at the home of every child registered for the program. The books are wrapped in plastic and addressed to the pre-school child. Parents report that their children can’t wait to have the new book read to them. A local elementary school teacher has told the Club that this program will influence the lives of every child in the program.
Incoming Rotary Club of Sedona President, Miki Dzugan notes that the Club hopes to expand the program. “We have had a wonderful reception for the program in Sedona. Over 52% of the pre-schoolers in the city are now receiving books each month in the mail. That is well ahead of the pace in most Imagination Library communities and is a credit to the support of the Sedona Public Library, the Oak Creek School District, Head Start, our Rotary Club volunteers and many other local early childhood literacy advocates. We are forever grateful for their ongoing support.”
If you would like to learn more about the program or would like to offer your support, contact the Steering Committee Chair, David Simmer at 928-284-4444.
The Rotary Club of Sedona meets every Tuesday noon at the Barking Frog Grille. The club’s mission is to enhance community through service, teamwork and friendship.