First Lady Reads to Children at The Family Center at Dollar General
First Lady Crissy Haslam and Theresa Carl – president of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation –commemorate Imagination Library Week with recognition of Dollar General Literacy Foundation
GOODLETTSVILLE – In honor of Imagination Library Week, Tennessee First Lady Crissy Haslam read to children today at The Family Center at Dollar General, the on-site child care center in the company’s corporate headquarters. Accompanied by Theresa Carl, president of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF), the pair thanked the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for its long-time funding support of the GBBF by presenting the child care center with a sample set of Imagination Library books and Imagination Library bookends.
“I am very excited to celebrate Imagination Library Week in Tennessee. We are fortunate to have the Imagination Library program in all 95 counties in our state,” said Mrs. Haslam. “Research shows that programs like the Imagination Library contribute to early language development, school readiness, grade progression and on-time graduation, so the benefits of this program are very important for Tennessee’s future.”
“As part of Dollar General’s commitment to literacy, we want to ensure that children have access to books,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and CEO. “Through our support of the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation, we’re proud to help provide free books to children so they can experience the joy and adventures of reading."
Tennessee’s statewide Imagination Library mails a new, age-appropriate book once a month to registered children, from birth until age five – at no cost to the family 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. All 407,000 of the state’s children under age five have access to the Imagination Library. To date, over 16 million books have been delivered since the program began in October 2004.
“We are grateful to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for their longstanding support of the GBBF,” said Carl. “Since 2006, they have awarded the GBBF $520,000. The Foundation’s recent gift of $85,000 to the GBBF Distressed County Fund will help provide books to children in economically strained areas of Tennessee, ensuring those children don’t miss receiving a single book.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to supporting literacy initiatives such as the GBBF in Tennessee and throughout the communities it serves across the country. The Foundation awards Youth Literacy grants to assist with implementing new or expanding existing youth literacy programs; to purchase new technology or equipment to support youth literacy initiatives; or to purchase books, materials or software for youth literary programs.
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 the Imagination Library lead to early childhood language development, school readiness, grade progression, on-time graduation and college attendance.
“We’re working diligently to continue promoting this amazing program, which is a gift of up to 60 brand new books for every child in the state of Tennessee, from birth until age five – all at no cost to families,” said Carl. “Imagination Library programs in counties across the state are helping create a generation of children who will be better prepared to excel and achieve from the first day of school.”
In August, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to 564 non-profit organizations, community groups, schools and libraries throughout the United States. It is estimated that approximately 315,000 youth will be served as a result of these grants.
Since its founding, Dollar General has been committed to supporting literacy and education. To further this support, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in 1993 to improve the functional literacy of adults and families by providing grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the advancement of literacy.
For more information about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation or for a complete list of grant recipients, visit www.dgliteracy.org.
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with 10,000 stores in 40 states. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $74 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.4 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.
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.