Imagine a young child reaching up to open the mailbox – their eyes widening with excitement upon seeing a package shaped like a book – then carefully reading their name on the label – it is addressed to that child! The child opens the packaging, runs to their caregiver, crawls onto their lap and opens their new and exotic book. Imagine them snuggled together, reading the story. This is a magical moment for many children – a magical moment with help from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
The Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income. Originating from Tennessee, the program has spread to Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Sources Volunteer Services operates the affiliate serving Surrey and White Rock.
“Sources believes in this program’s aim to increase early childhood literacy and increase reading skills as a child develops,” said Carrie Belanger, SOURCES Manager of Volunteer Resources. “Dolly Parton’s vision is to remove the stigma of being poor for families who face barriers in accessing age-appropriate books. By providing monthly books to all children for free, each child will be at equal reading levels when they are ready to start kindergarten.”
Currently, there are 251 children enrolled with Sources and 100 more on a waiting list.
“We have a waiting list because we do not have sustainable funding. As our communities grow, the demand for our program grows as well. We are looking to increase our financial capacity to bring the joy of reading to more children,” Belanger said.
That’s why, this June, Sources is participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge: a national contest organized by The GIV3 Foundation and CanadaHelps.
For every $1 donated to Sources (or any registered Canadian charity) via givingchallenge.ca or canadahelps.org, Sources will earn a chance to win $10,000.
The Challenge begins on June 1 and ends on June 30. The grand prize draw is on Canada Day, July 1. Whether Sources wins or not, we have our own goal of raising $5,000. With this, we could provide 55 children (aged 0-4) with a free book each month for two years!
“At a cost of $3.55 per book, which includes shipping to the child’s home, the value of your donation is endless,” Belanger said. “Although this is a library, the child gets to keep the books, and often they are passed on to family members, friends and even pre-schools. A book in a child’s hands is never wasted.”