Free Book Program Reports Impressive Numbers Across Mahoning County

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Steve Logan

5 Oct, 2021

Youngstown, Ohio: The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL), in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL), announced the Mahoning Valley has 51% of eligible children enrolled in the Imagination Library Program. In 2014, the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley launched the OGIL in Mahoning County. As of August 1st 2021, 6,521 children across the county, birth to age 5, receive free books through the mail regardless of their family’s income.

“The early years are the learning years and the early investment in a child matters to everyone. Access to books and educational materials is one of the biggest barriers to literacy development”, said Kathy Mock, Community Impact Manager, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. “If we can solve the problem of access to age-appropriate books, we have the opportunity to do something that can truly make a difference in our youngest children one book at a time.”

The OGIL promotes the love of reading at the earliest of ages. Children, birth to the age of 5, are eligible to register for the Imagination Library. Upon registration, children will receive a FREE age appropriate book delivered to their home once a month until their fifth birthday, as long as they live in the Mahoning County.

Parents or guardians can register their children online at www.ymvunitedway.org, pick up registration forms from all branches of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, or text ‘BOOKS’ to 313131.

“This achievement of 51% of the children across Mahoning County being served can be a tribute to the hard work of the United Way team and the cooperation among area educators, families and a great promotional effort community wide,” Kathy Mock said.

In 2019 the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley became one of the first counties to sign off on the MOA for the Ohio Statewide Imagination Library, investing in Ohio’s future. From the ten most populous counties in Ohio, Mahoning County reported the highest percentage of children enrolled; 12% higher than the state average.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley is dedicated to the educational success of our future generations. We will continue to develop and improve our early literacy initiatives to better serve children and families across the Valley through these trying times. We know literacy and education are vital for our community’s ability to grow and succeed together. And it is only together than we can RISE UNITED!

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