Dolly Parton just gave 3,000 books to schoolchildren in Cork
Dolly Parton is one of the most universally popular people in the world. It's hard to think of many people that everyone can so wholeheartedly agree on - and it's as much for what she's done with her life outside of music as what she has done with guitar in hand.
Her Dollywood Foundation has raised millions upon millions for charity, and her Dolly Parton Imagination Library has seen kids the world over given free books - including, this week, schoolchildren in Co. Cork.
3,000 kids will get access to the books via the Young Knocknaheeny Area Based Childhood Programme, which has partnered with Dolly's charity as of this week. Families in the Cork area can register now and give their kids the chance to receive an age-appropriate book a month from the age of 0 to 5.
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"I truly believe that if every child has a song in their heart and a book in their hand, they can see all of their dreams come true," said Dolly, and if you can read that quote without imagining it in her accent, then you're a better person than I am. "Cork, and all of Ireland, has a special place in my heart. It feels like home to me and hopefully one day, sooner than later, I will be coming home again!"
"You can never get enough books into the hands of young children," Dolly added. "I know there are children in Ireland with their own dreams - the dream of becoming a doctor, an inventor, or a teacher. Who knows; maybe a writer, or singer. The seeds of these dreams can often be found in books and the seeds planted in a community can grow across the world."
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has shared somewhere in the region of 150 million books with children in the 25 years of its existence and operated across the United States, as well as England, Australia, Canada. The first Irish location was in Tallaght last year and now has expanded to Cork..
"Dolly Parton set up this project to inspire a love of reading from an early age," said Grace Walsh, who is a speech and language therapist with Young Knocknaheeny. "So much research shows now that early literacy skills can predict later learning, language and literacy success. So setting up that foundation really early on, giving children as many skills as possible, can help them achieve their potential."
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