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Dolly Parton visits Ohio

Luncheon supports Imagination Library of Ohio

Ohio’s First Lady Fran DeWine and Dolly Parton talk to participants of the inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon. (Photo Provided)

Dolly Parton was welcomed to Ohio on Tuesday during the 2022 Inaugural First Lady’s Luncheon.

The luncheon supported Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio and celebrated the statewide success of the program so far. The program is sponsored locally by the Marietta Community Foundation.

Currently, 343,490 children in Ohio are enrolled in the Imagination Library program, representing 48% of eligible children. More Ohio children are receiving Imagination Library books than in any other state. The program’s statewide popularity is echoed locally. Some 1,106 Washington County children are currently enrolled (34% of eligible children) with nearly 200 children on the waiting list.

County affiliates were invited to attend and witness the gifting of quilts to Parton and Ohio’s First Lady Fran DeWine. Each quilt was made from 88 squares to represent each of Ohio’s 88 counties. Affiliates worked with a group of preschoolers to design a square representing their represented area.

Additionally, Parton presented DeWine with a copy of her book, “Coat of Many Colors.”

“Dolly visiting Ohio was incredible to witness,” said Heather Allender, president & CEO of Marietta Community Foundation. “Her father’s inability to read and write inspired her to start the program, and now she’s inspiring children and families worldwide to spend quality time together reading.”

Allender said the MCF was proud to be the affiliate for the program in Washington County, but the program is only able to thrive because of the generosity of donors.

“It’s been growing in popularity and the funds raised through our Match the Imagination campaign have already been exhausted. We hope that community members will follow Dolly’s lead and inspire a love of reading by sponsoring a child’s registration,” Allender said.

Community members can sponsor a child’s registration online at https://www.mcfohio.org/imagination-library. A gift of $25 will provide books for one child for one year. A gift of $125 will provide one child with books for five years — from birth until age 5. Parton’s Imagination Library program mails children one high-quality, age appropriate book each month from the time they are born until they turn 5 years old. All kids in Ohio are eligible to be enrolled at no cost to families.

Parents and guardians interested in enrolling their child in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Ohio can visit www.OhioImaginationLibrary.com.

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