Nedra Robinson, Deputy Director for State Representative Ramon Romero, recently signed her daughter up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a national program sponsored locally by United Way of Tarrant County that mails free books every month to the homes of enrolled children up to age 5. Coincidentally, the first book her three-year-old daughter, Jireh, received was one of the first books Nedra herself had received when she was just a year old.
“I was beyond excited when my daughter received ‘The Little Engine That Could,’” Nedra said. “I immediately searched for my copy at my parents’ house. My mother had written my full name and age (age one-and-a-half) in the front cover.” Now Jireh has her own copy.
“My daughter is a little sponge, and she loves books,” Nedra said. “She totes books in her tiny Minnie Mouse backpack, and she requests that a story be read to her from anyone who can read, including her nine-year-old brother.”
Imagination Library was established by recording artist Dolly Parton. Since United Way brought the program to Tarrant County in 2008, it has provided more than 100,000 free books to children living in 23 ZIP codes that span 11 different local communities. United Way is proud to partner with Workforce Solutions on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Workforce Solutions has funded the program locally since 2008.
Click here to learn more about signing up a child for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
“I try to instill in my children that we keep trying and persevere through adversity because quitting is not an option. The Little Engine’s quote—‘I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know.’—is perfect for reinforcing this message,” she said.
United Way knows that a successful life is built upon a successful education, and a successful education starts with literacy. Nedra couldn’t agree more. “As a parent, former educator, and African-American, I believe that literacy and early childhood education is extremely vital,” she said.
According to Nedra, only 25% of Tarrant County’s black third graders are able to pass the reading portion of the state test.
“That statistic is dismal,” she said, “yet I know through my efforts, along with my parents, Jireh’s teachers and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, my daughter will be on the road to success.”
United Way continues to administer the Imagination Library program locally, enroll children and solicit underwriting that enables the program to keep growing, giving more and more Tarrant County children the opportunity to join Jireh on the road to success.