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United Way Teams Up With Familiar Face to Ensure Early Childhood Success

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library subsidizes the purchase of new books for kids from birth to age five.
POPE COUNTY, AR - These smiling faces belong to kids in Pope County who just received a present in the mail.

"They get that pride of ownership and they also get good quality books in their home," says Beth Latham.

It's all thanks to a partnership between the River Valley United Way in Russellville and a program started by Dolly Parton.

Parton credits reading for her rise from small town Tennessee to international fame.

"Having books in her home was the thing that made her dream," says Latham.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library subsidizes the purchase of new books for kids from birth to age five.

"We are receiving them at a greatly reduced rate," says Latham.

The United Way gets 12 books for $25 and there is no cost to families who sign up.

A $10,000 allocation from the state's general improvement fund is fueling the effort, and so far they've signed up more than 200 children.

"We've already exceeded what our projects were for registrations for this first month," says Letham.

With each book opened and paged turned, another child getting closer to realizing their full potential.

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