About 160 pre-kindergarten children have been enrolled in the Imagination Library in its first year of operation in Chilliwack. Submitted photo

About 160 pre-kindergarten children have been enrolled in the Imagination Library in its first year of operation in Chilliwack. Submitted photo

Imagination Library celebrating one year with fundraiser

New early literacy program already helping about 160 children in Chilliwack

It’s been one year since the Imagination Library first arrived in Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley.

To celebrate, the Advisory Committee is hosting a fundraiser called A Taste of Tennessee, taking place April 10. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the initiative’s progress, raise additional funds and help build awareness about the early literacy program.

“Support and interest in the Imagination Library has exceeded our own imagination” says Brian Martin, of Made to Measure Performance & Engagement Solutions, the group responsible for bringing the Imagination Library to Chilliwack.

“When the program was introduced with support from the Chilliwack Optimist Club, we hoped the community would respond with enthusiasm and we haven’t been disappointed. Financial aid from Rotary clubs, along with a matching grant program from Baker Newby LLP has allowed us to enroll close to 160 pre-kindergarten kids and we have an additional waiting list of 170. Our current enrollment is the equivalent of six kindergarten classes of students that will show up on their first day of school being better prepared.”

Impact studies show that children enrolled in the program, and read to on a regular basis, score much higher on kindergarten readiness assessments. The program sets children up for continued success by given them a head start and creating a life long commitment to reading and learning.

“We believe every child deserves the opportunity to become passionate about learning and reading at an early regardless of their parents’ ability to pay for it,” Martin says.

The Dolly Parton Foundation provides program administrative support, but book costs are covered through local fundraising efforts from organizations, individuals and service clubs. The cost of purchasing the books and shipping them directly to a child’s home is approximately $3.55 per month.

Children receive an age-appropriate book each month in the mail from birth to age five. There is no charge to register and the books are free. Book selections include classic titles like The Little Engine that Could along with books that reflect Canadian values and history including Counting on Snow by local Harrison author Maxwell Newhouse.

Tickets for A Taste of Tennessee can be purchased through Eventbrite, or by emailing ImaginationLibaryFraserValley@outlook.com.

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