You may know of Bounty of Yamhill County (BOYC) an award-winning, three-day annual food and wine event that celebrates our vibrant community of famous wineries, celebrated chefs, and sustainable family farms. Did you know that it also an important fundraiser that supports critical early literacy efforts in Yamhill County? In collaboration with Dolly Parton, of course.

Through a partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, any child under the age of 5 who lives in Yamhill County can be signed up to receive a free, age-appropriate book mailed to their home every month. Children who are signed up at birth can accumulate a personal library of up to 60 books before starting kindergarten. Even better, it’s FREE for all Yamhill County families! The Yamhill Enrichment Society (YES) is the local affiliate and raises the $25 per year per child to fund DPIL, and proceeds from Bounty of Yamhill County (BOYC) help fund this critical program.

Research has shown that reading books aloud helps enhance literacy skills with children at this crucial developmental point before the age of 5. Their brain development is already at 90 percent by the time they’re starting kindergarten. This literacy development then translates to improved reading comprehension and overall success in school.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is critical to Yamhill County because results from the 2015-2016 Oregon Kindergarten Assessment Report show that on average, Yamhill County falls below the state average in early literacy and mathematics assessments. Approximately 64 percent of our elementary students are economically disadvantaged and may not have access to quality reading material. This program helps eliminate barriers to book access and ownership.

“The U.S. Department of Education found that children who were read to at least three times a week by a family member were almost twice as likely to score in the top 25 percent in reading than children who were read to less than three times a week.”

Dianne Haugeberg is a long-standing YES board member who is passionate about the cause of early childhood literacy and established the Yamhill County DPIL program in 2013.

“Our goal for 2017 is to have 3,000 children enrolled in the program, costing about $75,000,” says Haugeberg.

There are currently 2,600 children enrolled in in Imagination Library, but there are an estimated 5,800 children in Yamhill County.

Families interested in enrolling their children in this program can sign up (in English or Spanish) free of charge on the YES website.

Please consider supporting this amazing cause by attending a BOYC event or donating online!