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Smart Start South Central has begun a fundraising campaign to help keep Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library alive in Pontotoc County.

As is the case with most state-supported agencies, said Trish Little, SSSC community coordinator, Smart Start South Central’s funding has taken a big hit this year, leaving very few funds to keep the Imagination Library program in operation. The program sends a free, age-appropriate book to any Pontotoc County child who registers, up to age 5. It costs $28 per year to fund each child enrolled in DPIL.

“Research has proven that the Dolly Parton Imagination Library helps give children the skills that they need to start school ready to learn,” Little said. “It would be such a shame to see this program leave our county. There are currently about 400 children receiving books in the mail once a month so they can sit down and read with their parents or other caregivers.”

“Investing in early childhood programs such as DPIL,” said Cindy Byrd, projects coordinator for SSSC, has a 10 percent rate of return on investment, according to extensive studies. What better way could our businesses and community members invest than in our youngest citizens?  The benefits are so unbelievably positive.”

To book a presentation about DPIL and Smart Start South Central or to make a donation, contact Trish Little at 580-559-5872, or

Smart Start South Central is housed in the Center of Continuing Education and Community Services on the ECU Campus. It is an early childhood initiative involved in many support programs in Pontotoc, Johnston, Garvin, and Murray Counties.

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