05 Jun St. Marys Imagination Library Making Incredible Strides
Eighteen months after starting the St. Marys Imagination Library, a free book gifting program for young children, Dennis DesRosier and Chantal Lynch recently provided an update on the fantastic progress made to date. The update reads as follows:
“We have all good news, indeed great news.
First, we are coming up on distributing our first 2,000 free books to children under five years old who live in the N4X postal code.
Second, our initial goal was 300 children registered and the Dolly Parton movement (the imagination library movement was started by her) told us it would take about five years to reach our goal. This community did it in five weeks. What a great community.
Third, we have had close to 100 children “graduate” from the program which happens after a child turns five years old.
Fourth, despite those graduating, we still have close to 300 children registered. Chantal and I carry around bookmarks and give them to anyone we see with a young child and about two out of three have never heard about our program. So, we have work to do.
We have a few requests:
First, we would like to ask this group to help us find children in N4X who are not registered. According to the census we believe there are about 400 children eligible in our area. If you have a friend, neighbour, relative or like the two of us, see someone pushing a pram tell them to go to our website and read about the program and to register their child.
Just google St. Marys Imagination Library and all the relevant information is there.
Second, we would like to hear your stories if you have a child on the program. Just post them on our website (www.stmarysimaginationlibrary.com). For instance, what is your child’s favourite book? Has the program got them interested in reading? Do you now read to your child more often?
Dolly Parton’s parents were illiterate and that is why she started this program which now supplies millions of free books to children internationally. She would love to know your child’s story.
And finally, although the program is free, we would like you to consider a tax-deductible donation. We set it up as an Endowment which will fund the program in perpetuity once we reach our goal. I (Dennis) started the endowment with a $100,000 contribution, and Chantal and I have raised about another $50,000 so we are halfway to our $300,000 goal. In addition, to let the endowment grow, rather than use money from the Endowment, the two of us just pay for the books each month which is about $1,200 a month.
And we will continue to do this until the endowment is self sustainable, but we need help to reach our goal. If you think about it, $1,200 a month for 300 books is a pretty good deal.
It costs about $500 to provide a child with books for the full five years, so you could sponsor a child!! Or if you feel very generous, you could pay for a month! If you work in St. Marys, ask your employer to make a contribution: $5,000 for a company should be very doable for them and any contribution (corporate or personal) can be made monthly until you reach the amount you want to donate.
And we have made it very simple. Just go to the donation page on our website, www.stmarysimaginationlibrary.com/donate-online. Or just google St. Marys Imagination Library and all the relevant information is there.
But first and foremost, help Chantal and I find those children in St. Marys who are NOT on the program.
By the way Chantal has free bookmarks at her store downtown. Stop in and say hello and pick some up to give to anyone who wants to register a child and/or to your employer and fellow employees. We can do this!”