The United Way of Gaston County (UWGC) has served as the Gaston County administrator for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) for 15 years. UWGC currently has nearly 800 Gaston County children enrolled in the program. DPIL is an early literacy program that provides books to children from birth until their 5th birthday. Children enrolled in the program receive an age appropriate book in the mail each month, starting with The Little Engine That Could and ending with Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come! That is a total of 60 books in the home before the child enters Kindergarten. Multiple studies have shown that just having aged appropriate books in the home makes a significant impact on a child’s school preparedness, vocabulary and reading comprehension. Studies also show that having books in the home encourages families to spend time reading together.
UWGC celebrated this wonderful milestone in our community with a drop in event at the Gaston County Library on July 18, 2019. All of the children enrolled in the UWGC program were invited to come, bring their parents and siblings and celebrate with activities and snacks. Thurman, the penguin from GSM Services, even made an appearance at the celebration.
UWGC is looking forward to more children being impacted with this early literacy program. Last year, the Partnership for Children of Lincoln and Gaston Counties (PFC) became a partner in the program through funding received from the North Carolina Legislature. This funding allows the Partnership to also enroll children in select zip codes in our community and together, PFC and UWGC have more than 3000 Gaston County children receiving books each month!