Dolly Parton honours Fort McMurray for reading

Free literature program celebrates its 10th anniversary in Canada

By Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Canada promotes early childhood literacy for children by providing free age appropriate books from birth to age 5 in Canada. Go to ca.imaginationlibrary.com. Supplied photo

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Canada promotes early childhood literacy for children by providing free age appropriate books from birth to age 5 in Canada. Go to ca.imaginationlibrary.com. Supplied photo

Dolly Parton is celebrating the 10th anniversary of her children’s literacy program in Canada with a special shout out to the residents of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB).

“I’m just delighted that the good people in Fort McMurray have had over 2,000 children graduate from the program and over 2,800 enjoy the books every month,” said the American singer and actress in a September 15 news release. “Thanks to sponsors, champions and volunteers, close to 5,000 children will be able to build their own libraries and immerse themselves in the magic of reading.”

The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program was first launched in 1996 in the United States. Ten years following, the Dollywood Foundation brought free books to Canada. It was in November 2010 when the program was first launched in the region due to the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Fort McMurray.

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Shayla Ouellette, a six-year Fort McMurray resident, has both her children enrolled into the program. She first started with her daughter Kennedy in August 2013. And shortly after her son Ryan (who’s currently nine months old) was born, she registered him too.

Ouellette shared she knows the importance of children literacy and wanted her children to take part in the opportunity provided.

“I feel like reading is super important and I wanted them to have a good collection of books. It’s also fun for my daughter now to get her own mail,” she said. “And if the community is going to contribute to a program, I think it’s important to use it.”

Representatives of the Dollywood Foundation further stated that the result from the wildfire left many books undeliverable, but other residents donated books to those who lost their personal libraries.

“We were able to turn that around for the good as many people donated them (books) to those who lost everything in the fire,” as stated in the release. “Children were so excited to get their books back that they had lost, as there were their treasures.”

The Rotary Club of Fort McMurray is currently working with other Rotary Clubs to help bring free books to children across the province of Alberta through the program.

– Connect Weekly –