The Hearts Beat as One Foundation and Smart Start of Mecklenburg County announced the expansion of the DPIL program to 12 zip codes in Mecklenburg County on November 16th.

Subsequently a group of Charlotte Mecklenburg Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) Sponsors were able to meet Dolly and offer gratitude and support to her before her concert in Charlotte on November 19th. Pictured Left to Right: Jason McCraw (Twirl to the World), Suzie Ford (NoDa Brewing Company), Dolly Parton, Joe Davis (Hearts Beat as One Foundation) and David Singleton (Charlotte Mecklenburg Library).

Because language development and early literacy are so critical during the years from birth to five, Smart Start of Mecklenburg County wanted to find a way to address the “book gap” for children in our community.

The solution came in the form of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL).

DPIL builds a child’s home library by sending them an age appropriate book in the mail each month until age five. The program is free to the family and if enrolled at birth, a child will have 60 books by the time they enter kindergarten.

In April of 2015, Smart Start collaborated with Hearts Beat as One Foundation, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library was rolled out in three zip codes with the most limited access to books (28205, 28206, 28209). Enrollment was available to children at birth through hospital enrollments.

As of today, the program has expanded to all twelve of the zip codes where books are most needed – and enrollment is open to any child born after July 1st, 2013. This expansion is possible because of the generous sponsors formed with the Hearts Beat as One Foundation; Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation, Ann Dunlap Hendrix Charitable Fund, Noda Brewing Company, Twirl to the World and Ivy’s Diaper Service.

Smart Start was able to expand the program to serve approximately 3,000 children in partnership with Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity Charlotte, Novant Health and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

More donors are needed to adequately serve the over 44,000 children 0-5 living in those 12 zip codes. Anyone interested in supporting the program, visit http://www.heartsbeatone.org.

For more information about how the Dolly Parton Imagination Library works here in Charlotte, please contact Champagne Selman at cselman@smartstartofmeck.org or 704-943-9780 or Click Here!