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Date: July 3, 2023
Categories: Press Release

The United Way of Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro (UWSAW) has partnered with Augusta Health to enable every child born at Augusta Health to be eligible for registration into the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) program. Registration into DPIL at the time of birth would enable the child to receive free, age-appropriate, high-quality books to be delivered to the child’s residence every month until the child is five years old, at no cost to the family.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was started in 1995 by Dolly herself and is meant to encourage reading and promote early childhood literacy in preschool children. United Way SAW partnered with the Imagination Library in 2009 and since then, more than 6,780 local kids have received free monthly books since then. The new partnership with Augusta Health titled “Books at Birth” will add upwards of 1,000 children per year.

“This is such an exciting community partnership,” said Kristi Williams, President and CEO of United Way SAW. “This program will remove any barriers to children having books in their home, helping to develop oral language skills and a love of reading and learning. By the time they start Kindergarten, each child will have 60 books in their home library!”

“We are so proud to be able to offer this program to the babies and families of Augusta Health,” said Roxanne Harris, RN Maternal Health Navigator. “We recognize that literacy and opportunity is important for every child and adult in our community and these values have been the driving force in the development of our program.  Augusta Health is dedicated to a healthy start for every baby born in our community and this is one more way we are making it happen.”

There are currently 1,616 children enrolled in the DPIL program and 5,173 have graduated from the   program once they entered kindergarten. Every child receives a book appropriate to their age every month when enrolled in the program, and there is no expense to the child’s family. Although the DPIL program is completely free for children, there is a cost for mailing the books. That cost is $25 a year per child to receive a book every month. The cost is covered by donations and grants through local Civic Clubs and private foundations and donors.

Anyone interested in donating to the DPIL program can send donations to the United Way of Staunton, Augusta County & Waynesboro at 24 Idlewood Blvd. Ste 106., Staunton, VA 24401. Be sure to put DPIL on the envelope or the check.