Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]
SOUTHWEST WYOMING — United Way of Southwest Wyoming (UWSW) received multiple grants and gifts in 2021 for the continuation of its free reading program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Southwest Wyoming, which serves Lincoln, Sweetwater, and Uinta counties.
UWSW is the local affiliate of the Imagination Library program, which sends a free, age-specific book each month to enrolled children from birth to 5 years old.
Whisler Chevrolet donations totaled $12,000 to UWSW’s Imagination Library program.
“We are grateful to be able to continue our partnership with Centraide to support education. We have supported the Imagination Library in the past and wanted to get more involved. Sparking children’s enthusiasm for reading helps prepare them for school, and school is the foundation of a good life,” said Andria Whisler Smith, owner of Whisler Chevrolet.
The Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation awarded UWSW $7,500 to support UWSW’s efforts to increase time spent reading with children. UWSW requested funds because Dominion Energy’s strong education priority aligns with UWSW’s education initiative.
“The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program aligns with our education initiative to increase kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading scores, and high school graduation rates. Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning,” said Kelly Frink, Executive Director of United Way of Southwest Wyoming.
The Wyoming Community Foundation (WYCF) also awarded UWSW $7,500 to continue the program. These funds were recommended by the WYCF Evanston Area Local Council and the WYCF Rock Springs Area Local Council. The grant was made possible by the 21st Century Fund for Uinta County and Clarence & Mary Samuels Endowment Fund.
These donations alone do not cover the total cost of the program. Additional funds were also received from the Town of Green River, Kiwanis Club of Rock Springs, Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, RSNB Bank, parents of DPIL graduates, and people involved in their workplace campaigns. . The UWSW also hosts an annual golf tournament with proceeds benefiting the program. The next golf tournament is scheduled for September 10, 2022.
“This kind of commitment, especially now, is essential to being able to continue to offer this wonderful program. These organizations are committed to helping children in our community succeed. Access to books encourages parents to read to their children. As little as 15 minutes a day has a big impact on a child,” Frink said.
The Imagination Library pays for the books, and UWSW raises funds to cover the cost of shipping the books, about $35 per year per child, and makes the program accessible to all preschoolers in the area. Currently, 2,025 children in southwestern Wyoming are enrolled in the program and 5,775 have graduated.
Parents can register their children for this program online by visiting swunitedway.org. Paper forms are also available at the UWSW office, 510 South Main Street, Rock Springs, WY.
For more information on how you can help more children in southwest Wyoming receive age-appropriate books, please contact Shelley Richno at 307-362-5003 or [email protected].