Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Carl Foster.
When you hear the name 'Dolly Parton' what do you think?
Country music? Big hair? Big boobs?
Not in our house. The mention of Dolly’s name brings unbridled happiness and joy, at least it does from my three-year-old daughter. Why? Because it means another book has arrived in the mail from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Every month, from birth through to the age of five, children registered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library receive an age-appropriate book in the mail. All this is done at no cost to the child’s family. For children in low-income families, the library of books they build up by the age of five could potentially be the only new books they own.
Dolly launched her Imagination Library in East Tennessee in 1996. As the website says: “Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month.” While this is a genuinely philanthropic program that has now grown to 1600 communities in the US, Canada and the UK, it could serve as a case study for modern celebrity PR managers. For example:
– Lance Armstrong – Perhaps Lance could use all those millions of endorsement dollars to help kids buy bicycles and help combat childhood obesity?
– Chris Brown – Nothing is going to erase the image of Rihanna’s battered face, but donating money to a domestic violence organization might help him sleep a little better at night.
– Paris Hilton – What better way for the hotel heiress to transform her TMZ-led reputation into a lasting legacy than by establishing a network of hostels for the homeless?
I jest, of course. But one thing is for sure, for my daughter, Dolly Parton’s name will only ever mean one thing: excitement at collecting the mail, asking if Dolly has sent her a book, seeing her name on the address label, ripping off the cellophane wrapping, and opening up the next chapter of her growing imagination. It’s a wonder to behold.
I can’t sign off this blog without directing readers to the donation page of the Imagination Library. I know there are many people struggling right now, especially in the New York/New Jersey area, but if you want to bring a sense of wonder to a child you will never meet, please consider donating, or support the program by making a purchase from their on-line store.