$20,000 anonymous donation made in Logan County to support United Way’s Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

(September 28, 2016) – United Way of Southern Kentucky announced today that a $20,000 anonymous donation has been made to support the citizens of Logan County through an investment in United Way’s Southern Kentucky’s 2-1-1 Contact Center which serves Logan County residents and United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program which also serves residents of Logan County. $10,000 has been allocated to support the services provided by each program through this generous donation.

United Way of Southern Kentucky’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program puts books in the hands of local children to assist in fostering a love for reading and therefore better preparing children for Kindergarten. Children from newborn to age five are eligible to register into the program in the county in which it is offered. Once registered, each child will receive one age-appropriate book mailed directly to their home each month until the age of 5. As a result of this donation, parents of children under the age of five in Logan County wishing to register their child into this program to begin receiving free books can do so at Logan County Library branches in Russellville, Adairville, and Auburn.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was initiated in east Tennessee in 1995 by Dolly Parton. Since its inception, over 80 million books have been distributed to children across four countries. Recognizing the need to strengthen and support early literacy efforts and to ensure all young children get the best start possible, United Way of Southern Kentucky brought Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to Southern Kentucky in 2011. Support of the Imagination Library from generous contributions like this help to ensure that children in our communities have access to books, thereby increasing their chance for future success. Thus far, more than 107,000 books have been mailed to nearly 6,000 children across Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, and Warren Counties.

The Imagination Library program increases the accessibility of age-appropriate books in all households. The first book mailed to each child is “The Little Engine That Could” and upon graduating the program, the month the child turns 5, they receive “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come.” When age-appropriate books are accessible in the home, children gain an appreciation for reading and are better prepared for kindergarten. The program is designed to build a stronger community by ensuring all children have access to the essential tools to build stronger literacy skills.

The Imagination Library program also encourages early reading, which is essential for language and cognitive development in young children. Research shows access to age-appropriate reading materials in low-income households is severely insufficient. According to national data,

For immediate release: September 28, 2016 Local Media Contact: Mandy Hicks, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications P: 270.843.3205 I E: [email protected]

75 percent of children who are reading below grade level in third grade will remain behind in high school. In addition, children from low-income families are three times more likely to have dropped out of school or be unemployed by the ages of 16-19 because of the educational barriers they encounter. By giving children from all socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to develop necessary early learning skills, they are getting a boost towards lifelong education success.

Support of programs like United Way’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program is just one way that United Way is working to reach its Big Bold Goal in Education of increasing BRADD Kindergarten Readiness scores from 49.4% to 75% by the year 2020.

As well, 2-1-1 is core to the mission of United Way and integral to Community Impact. United Way of Southern Kentucky decided to bring 2-1-1 to Southern Kentucky after an extensive community research project that included almost 5,000 surveys and 55 Community Conversations in which it was discovered that people don’t know where to go to get help when they need it.

United Way’s Southern Kentucky 2-1-1 Contact Center took its first call on July 18, 2016. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number assigned by the Federal Communications Commission for the purpose of providing quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed. Instead of multiple calls leading to dead ends, with one call to 2-1-1, people can reach a trained specialist who assesses a caller’s full scope of needs and matches them to the right services with everyday needs such as food, housing, utilities or transportation. Logan County residents can continue to pick up the phone and dial 2-1-1 for information and referral assistance thanks to this generous donation.

Ellie Harbaugh, Senior Director of Resource Development for United Way of Southern Kentucky says, “It is a true honor to be the steward of this $20,000 gift to assist Logan County children through the Imagination Library as well as individuals and families through Southern Kentucky 2-1-1. This donor’s love for Logan County is evident in the desire to help others while yet remaining anonymous to the community. This investment has been the result of the generosity of a truly amazing person who has now changed lives in Logan County for generations to come.”

For more information on how you can make the choice to LIVE UNITED through giving, advocating and volunteering, log on to the United Way of Southern Kentucky website at www.liveunitedtoday.com.

United Way of Southern Kentucky (UWSK) is a local, independent, non-profit organization that works to identify and address the issues that matter most, change conditions and improve lives. The mission of United Way of Southern Kentucky is to be the leader in bringing together the resources to build a stronger, more caring community. United Way is focused on the building blocks for good quality of life – Education, Income, Health and Safety Net. Therefore, the vision of United Way is a Southern Kentucky where all residents are educated, healthy, and financially stable. Incorporated as a charitable non-profit entity in 1956, UWSK has long served a major role in the community by bringing people together to create opportunities that make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people where they live and work.

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