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Ride to Read event set for Aug. 28

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Tennessee’s Imagination Library, “A Ride to Read Parade and Birthday Bash” for babies through Pre-K aged children will be held later this month at the Unicoi County Family YMCA.
The Imagination Tour Bus, sponsored by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation and locally by the Unicoi County Imagination Library and GFWC Erwin Monday Club, will be on hand during the celebration. Also, children can bring a bike, tricycle, scooter or stroller or walk in the children’s parade. There will also be storytelling and a free giveaway.
Parents and guardians will also be able to enroll their child in the Unicoi County Imagination program during the Aug. 28 event. Thanks to the Imagination Library, all children from birth to age five are eligible to receive one free book in the mail each month at no cost to their families. The books sent to each child are age appropriate. According to Library organizers, providing books in the home is a unique opportunity to family engagement and for the development of the child’s vocabulary and reading skills.
The purchase and delivery of 12 books to one child for a full year costs $12. The Unicoi County Imagination Library raises funds each year to cover these costs. Currently, 58 percent of Unicoi County children under age five receive free books each month. According to organizers, since Larry Rose helped coordinate the program in Unicoi County in 2005, almost 55,000 books have been delivered to county children and 1,071 children have “graduated” from the program after reaching the age of five.
“We deliver 575 books per month to kids under five in Unicoi County,” said Elizabeth Willis, database manager since the program began in the county nine years ago.
In the past decade, the Imagination Library has delivered more than 21 million books to Tennessee children statewide.
You can enroll your child in the Unicoi County Imagination Library by attending the “A Ride to Read Parade and Birthday Bash” on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Unicoi County Family YMCA, 601 Love St., Erwin. Or, visit the Unicoi County Public Library or Unicoi County Health Department.
Donations should be mailed to: Unicoi County Imagination Library, P.O. Box 1414, Erwin, TN. Donations can also be made at www.governorsfoundation.org or by calling 423-743-5278 or 1-877-99-Books.
According to organizers, funding for this program is raised locally through donations from organizations, businesses, government entities and individuals. The Unicoi County Imagination Library consists of all volunteers and 100 percent of its funding is used to pay for books.