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Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Partners with MFRCs to Foster Literacy and Connection

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, globally acclaimed book-gifting program, has partnered with several Canadian Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) to gift books to families with young children. This joint initiative promotes childhood literacy and assists with strengthening bonds in military families and connection to their communities. Currently, only 10 out of 32 MFRCs are participating – which means when families move from one base to another…. their books stop arriving in the mail. Our goal is to ensure that every military family with young children has access to the ‘gift’ of a free book – every month – no matter where they live! Join us!

The Power of Imagination Library

Books have a profound impact on children. Books provide an opportunity for children to learn to read, help them learn to speak and communicate with confidence, and it supports the development of coping skills. Perhaps more importantly, sharing books also builds stronger family bonds through spending time together, enjoying the stories, cuddling, and having fun.

The Imagination Library, founded in 1995 by the legendary country singer Dolly Parton, inspires a love of books and reading in children from birth to age five. The program gifts age-appropriate, high-quality books and mails them to children’s homes, free to the family regardless of family income.

“Inspiring kids to love reading became my mission,” explained Dolly Parton. “In the beginning, my hope was simply to inspire the children in my home county. However, today, the program has become worldwide, and gives a book a month to more than two million children.” Dolly’s mission, which is rooted in love for her father, who could not read, has now expanded to touch the lives of millions of children around the world. Since its inception, the Imagination Library has delivered over 218 million books worldwide.

Imagination Library and Military Family Resource Centres

The collaboration between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Military Family Resource Centres represents a welcome step in supporting the unique needs of military families. Children in military families endure a unique and demanding lifestyle involving multiple sources of potential stress. Young children may require assistance in dealing with these stressors, such as frequent moves, parental deployment, traumatic experiences, and loss.

Seventeen per cent of our military forces are women, many of them mothers of young children. Many families have two deployed parents or experience frequent multiple deployments.

Children under five live through these stressors during a critical time in their development. From birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life; and early brain development has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and to succeed in school and in life. The quality of a child’s experiences in the first few years of life – positive or negative – helps shape how their brain develops.

Kayla, a parent from Petawawa, shared that “the ‘family’ support offered by the MFRC is invaluable, especially when we are so far away from our family and friends. Being able to register my kids for the Imagination Library is an added bonus. With how busy life can be, it’s easy to feel disconnected, but we use reading every night with our children to reconnect with them. Receiving new reading material monthly keeps everyone engaged, and the kids are excited to add the books to their library.”

It is easy to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library turnkey program to your base!

The Dollywood Foundation provides the program to include book selection, book manufacturing and mail distribution.  MFRCs promote the program and find families to enroll. There is a small program cost paid by MFRC. Reach out to Jeanne Smitiuch, Senior Regional Director here to get started!

Nora Briggs, Executive Director of The Dollywood Foundation of Canada, explained, “Education is an equalizer, and the ability to read is one of the most precious gifts we can give to a child. The Imagination Library offers a simple magical solution of stability and continuity for military children by providing access to high-quality books in the comfort of their homes. Reading together is fun and makes families stronger through shared family time, connection to their military communities and early learning.”

Currently, we have partnerships with:

  1. Calgary MFRC
  3. Esquimalt MRFC
  4. MFRC Montreal Region
  5. New Brunswick MFRC
  6. Petawawa MFRC
  7. Mainland BC MFRC
  8. Borden MFRC
  9. Edmonton MFRC
  10. Meadford MFRC

Learn More HERE.

For more information on bringing the Imagination Library to your community, contact here.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine