Celebrating a signifcant milestone

November 16, 2022 BY

United Way Glenelg reading program hits the 40,000 mark with book donations


United Way Glenelg has celebrated the impressive milestone of sending its 40,000th book, through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL), to preschool-aged children living in the Glenelg Shire.

The program, which is a shire- based initiative, had its start locally in 2013 and puts a new, age- appropriate book in the hands of children every month, free of charge to families.

The milestone was celebrated across community activities planned this month.

To mark the occasion, residents were invited to participate in the Little Readers of Glenelg social media challenge by sharing a snapshot of their young readers on United Way Glenelg’s Facebook or Instagram pages with the hashtag #40000dpil. All entries had a chance to win a My Coastal Kitchen birthday cake voucher.

United Way Glenelg executive officer Nicole Carr said the activity was a fitting way to demonstrate a love of books and reading.

“We encourage everyone to pick up a book to read with children anywhere and anytime, so we look forward to seeing lots of great images of children, their families, friends and even pets enjoying books,” she said.

Inspired by last year’s Where is the Green Sheep? activity, United Way Glenelg inspired little detectives to search, investigate clues and unravel the mystery of who is stealing the beetroots. Based on the book by Renee Treml The Great Garden Mystery, children located clues in shop windows eventually leading them to Glenelg Libraries where they were rewarded with a beetroot-shaped biscuit.

The Great Garden Mystery was launched at the major event for the 40,000 milestone celebrations with a special Magic of Storytime Picnic on the Deck last Friday.

“It was a very special Magic of Storytime as we took the event outside onto the deck at Glenelg Libraries in Portland,” Ms Carr said.

“Musician Jess Cook joined us for music and movement, and together we shared a story, activities, giveaways and a special cake.

“There was free Poco’s Icecream Port Fairy for the children and coffee from BAHLOO Café for the grown-ups!”

The children also brought along their favourite DPIL book for a big celebration photo.

The impact of DPIL in developing children’s early literacy skills has shown to be significant.

A survey of the Imagination Library Glenelg Shire program participants found that their children’s interactions with books increased by 94% just six months after their first book arrived.

Most parents and carers that responded (83%) said they felt more confident reading with their child six months into the program, and 72% reported that carers and children were spending more quality time together thanks to their participation.

“Participating family members are overwhelmingly positive about the program. They love receiving the books every month.”

Since its inception, the program has grown exponentially due to the support of its major partner, Portland Aluminium, along with the assistance of Maternal and Child Health Services and local agencies working with vulnerable families to encourage parents of newborns and children to enrol their children.

Portland Aluminium acting plant manager Mark Crespan said the Dolly Parton Imagination Library was a partnership he and his team are very proud and enthusiastic about, and like the plant managers before him, is very passionate about providing opportunity through education and learning.

“Portland Aluminium’s partnership philosophy is based on Education, Opportunity and Leadership, and to have the opportunity and ability to help educate the next generation; to give them the best possible start to life is a privilege. I am personally very proud Portland Aluminium is involved in the program.”

For more information on the events go to United Way Glenelg Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/unitedwayglenelg or contact Nicole Carr at 0410 513 305.



MILESTONE: United Way Glenelg executive officer Nicole Carr and Glenelg Shire child & youth services officer Neysa Sutherland.