By Tim Saunders on
Country music legend Dolly Parton hosted three sold-out benefit concerts at her Dollywood theme park over the weekend.
The shows, held on August 16 and 17, raised money for Parton’s Imagination Library, a charity the 62-year-old established to encourage children to read. According to Country Music Television, the shows were part of Parton’s current tour, and the singer whipped the crowd into a frenzy with renditions of hits both old and new.
Parton established the charity in 1996 as part of her Dollywood Foundation, and the Imagination Library now operates in 566 counties across thirty-six U.S. states, as well as in Canada and England. Her idea was simple: to build an organization that sends one book per month to children from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten.
“This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children,” said Parton. “When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books, and the seeds you plant in your community can grow across the world.”
Due to the work Parton has done with her Imagination Library – which distributes more than 2.5 million free books to children every year – she has be awarded the Association of American Publishers’ AAP Honor in 2000, Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval in 2001, the American Association of School Administrators’ Galaxy Award in 2002, the Chasing Rainbows Award from the National State Teachers of the Year in 2002, and the Child and Family Advocacy Award from the Parents As Teachers National Center in 2003.
To find out more about the organization, visit their website at www.dollysimaginationlibrary.com.
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