It is no longer news that Dolly Parton has been making positive impacts in the lives of children. This woman has spent so much time ensuring that children around her get the best education by providing books and establishing libraries.
Through initiatives such as the Imagination Library and Buddy Program, Dolly Parton has changed the future of children and impacted several lives. It is certain that this woman is passionate about giving kids a better opportunity in life.
Parton was inspired to set up the Buddy Program after observing the high rate of dropout Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1990. About 34% of school kids dropped out of high school in 1990. These figures were so surprising that Parton made a decision to inspire kids with her new program.
In that same year, fifth and sixth graders were invited to Parton’s amusement park, Dollywood. Parton asked each pupil to team up with a friend as part of a motivating buddy system.
If both children graduated she promised both of them a check of $500 as a reward. The percentage of kids that dropped out declined to 6% and has since then continued to be around that rate today.
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However, Parton didn’t stop there. In the same way she is passionate about music, she continued to improve educational opportunities for all kids. After setting up the Buddy Program she discussed with the school district and realized how important first grade was in deciding a child’s educational future.
Since there were differences in the developmental levels of children at this stage it is therefore important to give enough support to these kids. Parton decided to compensate additional teaching assistants for all first grades classes in the district by paying their salaries for the next two years. The school district would have to continue with the payment of the salaries if the program was successful.
The Buddy Program was successful and Parton decided to emphasize the issue of early education. The singer/songwriter set up her Imagination Library in 1995 in order to give kids from poor backgrounds a better chance.
The Imagination Library program is now 25 years and has ensured that kids enjoy new books every month starting from their birth month, all thanks to her generosity.