Brightside Project launches Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

SALEM– In partnership with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, The Brightside Project is launching Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for children birth to 5 years old in Columbiana County. Each child that enrolls in the program will receive a free developmentally appropriate book each month from the time they are born until they turn 5 years old.

“We know a lot of people in our county have been anxiously awaiting this program and we are excited for the opportunity to be the Columbiana County affiliate because we know how important literacy is to a child’s development,” said Lisa Wallace, The Brightside Project’s co-director. “By the age of 3, roughly 85% of a brain’s core structure is formed and children exposed to early language and literacy experiences in the home during this time prove to become good readers and excel in school.”

With the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library contributing 50% of the cost for each enrolled child, The Brightside Project has committed to meet the additional cost with help from the community. Local agencies and organizations are already stepping up to help financially including the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Crestview PTO. With nearly 6,000 eligible children in Columbiana County, The Brightside Project’s goal is to get books in to the homes of all children under the age of 5 in the county and is looking for additional financial partners who want to help achieve that goal.

Marcy Patton, executive director of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, explained that board members were in total support of the project, voting unanimously at their September meeting to contribute $20,000 to help launch the program.

“While we often think of mental health services as helping people who are having problems, the prevention of problems by promoting healthy emotional development is equally as important,” Patton explained, noting that early literacy has been directly tied to improved social emotional skills, such as confidence, the capacity to develop relationships, communication of emotions, listening skills, and problem solving.

Other than age, a child must reside in Columbiana County to be eligible for the program through The Brightside Project. Parents and guardians are encouraged to enroll all of their eligible children online by visiting www.brightsideprojectohio.org or ohioimaginationlibrary.org/enroll. Children who enroll before Nov. 1 will receive their first book in December. For information or to make a financial contribution to the project call 234-320-4005, email lisa@brightsideprojectohio.org or visit www.brightsideprojectohio.org.


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