EDITORIAL: Program a gift to the county’s children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Dolly Parton is a living legend and likely one of the most-liked Americans, no small feat in a divided country that can’t seem to agree on anything these days.

From her long and influential country music career, coming from poverty to achieve success as a singer and songwriter, to her acting resume and business success, to her good-natured personality and sense of humor, there’s a lot to admire about her life.

But one of the most impactful things she has done in recent years is the establishment of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books each month to children who enroll.

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It is through this effort that many first encounter the gift of reading.

Knowing the economics hardships many face, because of her own upbringing, Parton founded the program to give back and her nonprofit partners with any community interested in having it.

And last week, Gov. Mike DeWine and first lady Francis DeWine marked a major milestone for the state, announcing the milestone that more than 50 percent of eligible children in the state, from birth to age 5, are now enrolled in the program.

Altogether, this amounts to 362,295 Ohio children who will receive a free book in the mail this month.

The first lady, in particular has been a huge advocate in promoting the program and letting parents know if its existence.

And here, in Lawrence County, that effort has been even more successful, thanks to a push from educators and the Lawrence County Commission.

As you can see in the county-by-county totals to the right, 63 percent of Lawrence County’s eligible children are enrolled, well above the state average and one of the highest totals in Ohio.

Far too often, valuable resources go unheard of by the public. In this case, we are thankful that the word has been spread about this wonderful program.

The local figure something to be proud of for all involved and we hope that number can only go up.

So, if your family has not taken advantage of the offerings of the Imagination Library, we strongly encourage you to visit its Ohio site at https://ohioimaginationlibrary.org and sign up.