Feliciana Bank and Trust Company launched a partnership with Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge to provide funding for all children in East Feliciana Parish to receive free books through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.

An official kickoff event was June 15 at the Bluebird Learning Center in Slaughter.

Louisiana first lady Donna Edwards donated books to the event that were presented to the center’s director Alison Kirkland.

The goal of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is to improve early literacy and foster a love of reading among children and their families. The funding provided by Feliciana Bank and Trust will allow all children birth to age 5 in East Feliciana Parish to receive a free, high quality, age-appropriate book mailed directly to their home each month, no matter their family's income.

“I am excited to partner with Volunteers of America and Feliciana Bank and Trust in supporting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library,” said Edwards. “The DPIL was founded with the goal of instilling a love of reading in children early in their lives, which is something I strongly believe in as well. That’s why I’m so pleased to donate copies of my first children’s book, ‘A Bandit in the Mansion,’ as well as books from Louisiana authors to this special event.

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“Reading is essential for the growth and development of our children, and it will benefit them for a lifetime. I encourage others to join us in spreading the love of reading and ensuring that all children have easy access to books,” Edwards said.

Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge is the local affiliate partner of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. With the help of corporate sponsorships, grants and individual donations, VOA works to provide books to children and families in 10 parishes: Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.

“Our goal is to better prepare Louisiana’s young children for successful literacy in kindergarten and beyond and we are so grateful to Feliciana Bank & Trust for partnering with us in East Feliciana Parish,” said David Kneipp, president & CEO of Volunteers of America.

For information about the DPIL program, visit voagbr.org/imaginationlibrary or to register a child 0-5 years old who resides in East Feliciana Parish, visit felicianabank.com.