Help give the gift of literacy to local kids

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ionia County is a school readiness initiative in the form of a book distribution program.  All children birth to age 5 who live within the Ionia ISD are eligible to participate in this program.  The cost to the Ionia ISD for one child is $27.00 per year. The program is considered a gift from the community and families receive the program free.

The program is completely funded by community donations.  If a child participates in the program for all 5 years, they will have a complete home library of 60 books.  According to the National Commission on Reading, the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early education success is an introduction to books and being read to at home prior to beginning school.

Currently over 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to almost 700,000 children each and every month. Already statistics and independent reports have shown Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library drastically improves early childhood literacy for children enrolled in the program.

To help fund this program, The Ionia County Intermediate School District is hosting a quilt show featuring more than 50 quilts in the theme of “The Fuzzy Little Duckling”.

Each quilt is made by volunteers in the community who have donated their time, talent and material in an effort to raise money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ionia County. The quilt raffle has grown to be one of the largest fund raisers for the program.  Each year more quilters learn about the program and aim to support the effort. “I really love this program and want it to grow.  It is such a great adventure for a child to learn to love books” says Lu Dowsett, one of the founders. The quilts will be displayed at the Ionia Intermediate School District main office located at 2191 Harwood Road, Ionia.  The show begins February 4th from 8am-8pm, February 5 8am-8pm and February 6th 8am-4pm.

The quilt raffle concept was an original idea that came from a group of women that had a passion for literacy and young children. Each quilter starts with the same panel but then brings their own ideas and creativity to the piece.  A key event during the show is the Quilters Tea that occurs on Wednesday February 5th from 2:00pm- 4:00pm.

The tea is a time for the quilters to come, admire each other’s work and learn more about the program. The quilt show launches the raffle that will run throughout February and most of March.  Members of the community can purchase a ticket for $5.00 for a chance to win a quilt or get 10 tickets for $30.00, which funds a child in the program for an entire year.

This event is open to the public to enjoy inspirational quilts while learning more about helping children in the community.  Once the quilt show finishes, quilts and raffle tickets will be displayed in locations throughout the Ionia ISD for all members of the community.  If you would like to learn more about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ionia County,  log on to or Cheryl Granzo at 1-616-522-1410.

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