More kids getting books, thanks to United Way

Aug. 08, 2014 @ 04:55 PM

More students in Vance County will be getting books sent to their home this year thanks to contributions from the United Way of Vance County.

The organization donated $2,500 to the Franklin-Granville-Vance Smart Start program for students to participate in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a national initiative delivering books to children’s homes every month until they turn 5 years old.

Garry Daeke, the organization’s development coordinator, said the grant allows 50 more children to join this year — on top of another 50 who have already signed up.

Without the grant, the registration fee would be about $20 per year, per child.

“The idea is not to lose any,” he said.

Daeke set up a booth Friday at Perry Memorial Library to enroll new children.

“We hope to fill all the slots today,” he said. “I even had parents waiting for me when I got here.”

Barbara Cozart registered her granddaughter, 4-year-old Zakiyah Warren, for the program and said she was excited to be a part of it.

“She loves books,” Cozart said. “I wish we would have known about it earlier so she could have participated longer.”

The program is for newborns to children who are 4 years old.

The first book they receive is “The Little Engine That Could.” The last they receive is “Kindergarten, Here I Come!”

Daeke said the program is designed to get students ready for school, making sure they have the tools to be successful — including parent support.

“We are trying to set up an environment for parents to read to their children,” he said.

He said he originally asked the United Way for $2,000.

“They gave us more then we asked for, which is unusual,” he said.

In addition to getting signups, Daeke gave each child one free book — surplus from the FGV Smart Start Reach Out and Read program, a partnership with local pediatric facilities to educate parents on the importance of child literacy.

Daeke said books are purchased to be distributed by doctors and nurses during childcare visits.

On Friday, Zakiyah picked out a book called “Moosestache,” by Margie Palatini.

“I like this one,” she said.

Daeke said if slots were still open for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library by the end of the day, sign-ups would carry into next week.

For more information, contact the Franklin-Granville-Vance Smart Start at (252) 433-9110.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.