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United Way seeking help to connect children with books

Aug 5, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Fremont County's youngest children may soon be seeing more books at home.

United Way of Southwest Wyoming executive director Suzanne Zutter said her organization is working to bring country singer Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to the area.

"We would like to offer it to Fremont County," Zutter said in an interview. "The concept behind the program is to have books in the house, and research shows books at home is making a difference."

The organization addresses early literacy by bringing Parton's program into communities. The books are selected by a panel of experts and are delivered by mail.

Once a program is implemented in a county, Zutter said children who meet the age requirement can sign up to receive a book every month until age 5. The books are free to the families.

The Dollywood Foundation pays for the books. However, local fundraising efforts are needed to pay for shipping-and-handling charges.

Zutter said $35 is needed per year per child.

"This is very inexpensive. The books are high quality and mailed directly to the house," she said.

Before books are in the mail to families, money must be raised.

"The goal is to raise funds to meet the 20 percent of eligible kids in the county before we start asking for applications," Zutter said.

Going off the 2010 Census, Zutter said that would mean $22,000.

United Way has not yet sought out funding for the program in Fremont County, but Zutter is working with Fremont County School District 6 superintendent Diana Clapp to look for local businesses and organizations that may want to sponsor the program.

To donate, go to www.swunitedway.org or call 362-5003.

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