While there was tremendous excitement for Dolly Parton’s Pure and Simple show Monday at MTS Centre, many fans may not realize the impact the American singer-songwriter has had on thousands of Manitoba children and their families.
The music star, actress, author, businesswoman and humanitarian is known mostly for her work in country music, being the most honoured female country performer of all time. Yet, it’s Parton’s philanthropic work that has touched the lives of millions all over the world.
The Dollywood Foundation of Canada, through its Imagination Library, provides free books to preschoolers. Once a child registers with Imagination Library, eight to 10 weeks later, books begin arriving at the child’s home, one a month until the child turns five years old.
The program has achieved its greatest success in Manitoba, with 39% of all Canadian children enrolled in the Imagination Library program being from this province.
One of the main reasons for the tremendous success here is the tireless work of Karyn Davis, an early childhood educator from Ebb and Flow First Nation. Over the past six years, Davis has volunteered to raise support and funding for the program.
The result has been that a total of 84 communities (63 First Nation, 14 Metis, and seven others), have taken part. Now, the goal is to expand the program to 11 schools in Winnipeg School Division.
Monday morning in Winnipeg, early learning providers gathered at Ma Mawi to check out the program and the free books, mailed to approximately one million children monthly, around the world!