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RBC I Moffat County Youth United Way, the teenager component of Moffat County United Way and Connections 4 Kids, the early childhood council serving Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, recently launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library locally and received an overwhelming response from the families of young children in the two counties.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that offers high-quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age 5. The program is free to families in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties and limits registration only by age and residence, not socio-economic status or other factors. All children who register will receive a free book, mailed to their home, once a month until the month of their fifth birthday.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is made possibly locally thanks to grant funding through Yampa Valley Community Foundation and the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Connections 4 Kids and Moffat County Youth United Way hosted launch events on Nov. 8 in Craig, Nov. 13 in Rangely and Nov. 14 in Meeker at the communities’ libraries. In addition, sign-up has been available at several local preschools and child care centers.
As of Nov. 16, a total of 165 children in Moffat County and 120 children in Rio Blanco County had enrolled in the program. Additional registrations already completed at local libraries will add to these totals.
“These numbers reflect what the national organization projects the percentage of eligible children we’d have enrolled by the end of year two, but we reached it in each eight days,” said Connections 4 Kids coordinator Michelle Balleck. “This is a terrific success and truly reflects the desire and need for a program such as this in our communities. But, unfortunately, we are well beyond our budget and are unable to continue accepting enrollments.”
Connections 4 Kids and Moffat County Youth United Way will be applying to local organizations to seek additional dollars to continue to enroll children in the program. In the meantime, however, registration — both paper and online — is suspended.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Balleck said. “We are so excited by the response we received from the community and the number of young children already enrolled in the program. We are disappointed to have to suspend registration but hope to secure additional funding and be able to open the program back up soon.”
For more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Libraries in our communities, call Michelle Balleck at 824-8282, ext. 47, or email her at email@example.com.