Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Receives $150,000 Grant from SC Johnson

BRANTFORD, ON, February 4, 2021 – Kids Can Fly is delighted to announce that it has received a $150,000 grant from SC Johnson that will double enrollment in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Brantford and Brant County.

The grant will be used to provide thousands of age-appropriate high-quality books every month directly to children in the community. Currently, 25% of all children in Brantford and Brant County are enrolled in Imagination Library, a free book gifting program that aims to support early learning by developing early exposure to literacy directly to children in their own homes.  With the SC Johnson grant, the program will expand to reach over 50% of children in our community. Research shows that having even 20 books in a home fosters a love of learning and sets children up for greater success when they start school.

Kids Can Fly is proud to be the local partner of the Dollywood Foundation of Canada, delivering the community-based program to Brantford and Brant County.  “Early literacy programs not only help a child prepare for school by developing early literacy skills and a love for reading, but they also are an investment in a skilled future workforce, leading to sustained economic growth, fuller employment, and increased social justice which pays long-term dividends for the whole community’s prosperity,” says Richard Cook, Kids Can Fly Board Chair. “COVID-19 has illustrated how critically important it is to support learning at home, and how children are impacted when supports are not equal across communities.  By reaching more than half of the children in Brantford and Brant, we hope to help more children start school on equal footing.”

“Reading plays a foundational role in the pathway to success for our future generations,” said Alan VanderMolen, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of SC Johnson. “We are grateful to support organizations like Kids Can Fly that share our goal of providing opportunities that educate children and enable them to learn and grow.”

Kids Can Fly is starting off 2021 with an enrollment plan to increase the number of children currently registered in the program. Plans include hosting events and registration drives as well as strengthening partnerships with other key organizations in early childhood education, obstetricians and midwives, government partners at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels, school boards, and libraries. With a goal to eventually have all children in Brantford and Brant County registered so that everyone has the same early learning opportunities, they will continue to work with the community to develop more corporate partnerships to support this goal and to build a stronger base of future citizens and employees. Follow the Kids Can Fly website and social media channels for more information on how you can get involved to support early literacy in your community.

SC Johnson

SC Johnson is a family company dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace, and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, pest control and shoe care, as well as professional products. It markets such well-known brands as GLADE®, KIWI®, OFF! ®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, MR MUSCLE® and RIDSECT®. The 135-year-old company employs approximately 13,000 people globally and sells products in virtually every country around the world.   www.scjohnson.com

KIDS CAN FLY, EARLY CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND PARENTING SUPPORT is a registered charity that focuses on early child development and parental support in Brantford and Brant County. Founded in 2001, Kids Can Fly offers a variety of programs focused on parenting support and early childhood development, including Launch Pad, Parachute Program, Roots of Empathy, and Imagination Library. Our local charity is the largest affiliate of the International Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Ontario, mailing almost 2000 books monthly to kids in our community! For more information on programs, including how you can support its work, as well as how to register your child for Imagination Library, visit www.KidsCanFly.ca

Media Contact:

Sharon Brooks

Executive Director

Kids Can Fly
519.448.1713

info@kidscanfly.ca

 

Jeanne Smitiuch

Canada Director

Dollywood Foundation of Canada

519.771.2543

jsmitiuch@imaginationlibrary.ca

 

This program has been supported by a grant from SC Johnson.

 

Peppermint Mouse goes online!

We couldn’t let a holiday season pass without our festive vendor sale, so this year, we are hosting our 3rd Annual Peppermint Mouse Holiday Event ONLINE.

From now through November 15, we are running an online silent auction, to encourage our friends and supporters to do some holiday shopping! 100% of all winning bids goes directly to Imagination Library to send books to children in our community

We have some great items donated by some of our familiar Peppermint Mouse vendors, some literary-themed items for the reader on your holiday list, some personalized holiday items, and great gift cards!

Click HERE for the direct link to the online bidding.

Thanks for your support and happy shopping!

County of Brant gets behind Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library!

We are thrilled that the County of Brant has decided to make a huge investment in the children who will be future youth and adults in the community by committing $20,000 to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program!

The cheque was presented to Sharon Brooks (Executive Director of Kids Can Fly) and Leslie Downie (Chair of the Imagination Library Committee) at the Family Literacy day kick off event on Sunday January 26.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library mails a free book every month to children living in Brantford and Brant County from birth until 5 years of age.  Kids Can Fly raises almost $100,000/year for the early literacy program for both Brantford and Brant County.  Funds come from the hard work of the Imagination Library committee from fundraisers, corporate grants, community grants and private donations.

This grant from the County of Brant will make a huge difference in our ability to get more children living in the County onto the program in 2020.

Thank you to Mayor David Bailey and the council of the County of Brant for this investment in our youngest community members!

Here is the official press release from the County of Brant:

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, at the Family Literacy Day event, the County of Brant presented a $20,000 grant to Kids Can Fly.

“We are thrilled to support Kids Can Fly and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program,” said Mayor David Bailey from the County of Brant. “Engaging a child in literacy develops language skills, stimulates the imagination, teaches empathy and shares a wealth of knowledge. We want to thank Kids Can Fly for all the work they do and for positively impacting the children and families in this community.”

The grant will support approximately 400 children, from ages zero to five years old, in the County of Brant to receive a book each month. A total of 60 books will be mailed, free of charge, to each child throughout their early years.

“This program promotes and encourages parents to read to their children from birth. Starting to read to your child at birth can have a tremendous impact on their lifelong development,” said Sharon Brooks, Executive Director of Kids Can Fly. “As a baby, the time spent speaking to your baby and cuddling them helps facilitate the parent-child connection. As they grow into toddlers, they are so excited to receive a special book in the mail each month. They begin to explore the world and language through these wonderful books. Regularly reading to a young child helps them to recognize letters and words and expand their imagination. Children who are read to in their early years often enter school with advanced language skills and have more awareness of the world around them.”

Kids Can Fly has been running the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program for 10 years. The books are purchased in bulk from Penguin Random House publishing.

“Because of the grant from the County of Brant, we will be able to serve every family in Brant who requests to join the program and we will no longer have a waitlist,” said Brooks. “We would like to thank the County of Brant for investing in the future of our kids.

To register your child for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, visit www.kidscanfly.ca or fill in a hardcopy form at any County of Brant Public Library.

Kids Can Fly makes presentation to pre-budget consultations

ImaginationlibraryKids Can Fly were invited to give input into the upcoming provincial budget through a pre-budget consultations that are taking place throughout Ontario. 

Sharon Brooks, Executive Director of Kids Can Fly spoke to the Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa and the Minister of Community and Social Services,  Ted McMeekin about the economic value of investing in Imagination Library for all preschool children in Ontario! 

According to research and the World Bank, for every dollar that is invested in the early years, the Province would save $17 in social services, health, policing, incarceration, rehabilitation and other costs.  To register a child in the Imagination Library, the cost is $60/per year for the first five years of their life.  Therefore for a $300 investment in every child in Ontario, the Province would save $5100! 

For the Kids Can Fly full submission: 

Ontario Pre-Budget Consultations 2013

 Please make your comments below or contact your local MPP to support this proposal.

 “Dream More, Learn More, Care More and Be More.”

Dolly Parton         

Happy Birthday to three very special kids!

When it came time for triplets, Ashton, Bennett and Cameron to have their 9th birthday party, they wanted to celebrate with all of their friends.  Each is in a different class at school and have different friends.  Their parents, Shailau and Brian Spivak told them they could invite 10 friends each!  That is a total of 33 kids at Woodman Centre.  In lieu of gifts the birthday party goers were asked to make a donation to the “Dolly Parton Imagination Library” when they heard that Cameron, Ashton and Bennettthere is a waiting list of over 140 children wanting to be put on the program. 

The Imagination Library mails a new book to a child every month until they turn five.  This promotes early literacy and helps children to better prepared to begin school.  Success in school leads to success in life, which benefits our whole community. 

Ashton, Bennett and Cameron have participated in many of Kids Can Fly’s program when they were younger such as, The Launch Pad and attended the Storybook Breakfast the first three years.  Currently, Ashton has the Roots of Empathy program in his classroom.  He comes home and tells stories about “his” Roots of Empathy baby! 

The cheque presentation was a delight.  The triplets were so excited and very proud to hand over their birthday collection.  We were very honoured that they chose to help other kids get books and enjoy to read!