Delta Dental of Tennessee Reads to Children in Head Start Program for Imagination Library Week
Company is longest supporter of Imagination Library program in the healthcare sector
NASHVILLE – Delta Dental of Tennessee – a major corporate statewide sponsor of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) – is committed to improved health outcomes through education. The company contributed $50,000 to the GBBF and the Imagination Library program for the fiscal year ending 2012. On Wednesday, in celebration of Imagination Library Week in Tennessee, four Delta Dental employees read to preschool children at the Dudley Head Start Center, where they also distributed new toothbrushes and talked about the importance of dental health.
“We are firm believers that a healthy society is an educated society,” said Kaye Martin, senior vice president of operations for Delta Dental of Tennessee, including commercial and TennCare lines of business. “Literacy is the golden key to a good education, and educated people make healthier choices. Books have the power to transform children’s lives for the better, and Delta Dental of Tennessee is proud to support the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and the Imagination Library, which helps our state’s children become lifelong learners.”
Since the inception of the GBBF in 2005, Delta Dental of Tennessee has provided grants totaling $350,000 to the nonpartisan, non-profit foundation. The donated funds are used to provide new, age-appropriate books to preschool children enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program across the state.
“Delta Dental of Tennessee is a staunch supporter of early childhood literacy and an important partner of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation,” said Theresa Carl, president of the GBBF. “Today’s reading at the Dudley Head Start Center exemplifies the company’s commitment to investing in a healthier, more educated future for our state.”
All of the state’s 407,000 children under age five have access to the Imagination Library. Created by Dolly Parton in 1996 as a gift to the children in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate book every month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to the families and regardless of income. Just $24 annually provides for the purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child. This cost is split evenly between a non-profit sponsoring organization in each Tennessee county, and a state budgetary allocation administered by the GBBF.
To date, over 16 million books have been delivered since the program began in October 2004.
An increasing amount of research supports the idea that children who grow up around books typically achieve better educational outcomes in school.
Currently, 44 percent of Tennessee third graders are reading on grade level. Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.
In a recent study conducted by the Urban Child Institute, research showed that programs like Books from Birth lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.
“The benefit of putting books in the hands of Tennessee’s preschoolers is truly immeasurable,” Carl said. “We are grateful to Delta Dental of Tennessee for investing in the future of our children and our state.”
About the GBBF: The mission of the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation is to sustain and strengthen Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program in all 95 Tennessee counties, ensuring that new, age-appropriate books are mailed to Tennessee’s preschool children, at no cost to the family and regardless of income. To learn how to support your county’s Imagination Library program, or for information on how to register a child, visit www.GovernorsFoundation.org, www.facebook.com/TNImaginationLibrary, or call toll-free at 1-877-99-BOOKS.
About Delta Dental of Tennessee: Delta Dental of Tennessee, with its affiliates in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina and Ohio collectively are among the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2011, the enterprise paid out $2.2 billion for dental treatment for 8.6 million enrollees. Offices are located in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.; Indianapolis and Greenwood, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Okemos and Farmington Hills, Mich.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; and Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio.