The JLB Imagination Library, in partnership with the Dollywood Foundation, has made the 60-volume Dolly Parton Imagination Library available to all children under the age of 5 in Jefferson County, Alabama. Each month, from birth to age 5, every child registered will receive a high-quality, age appropriate book in the mail free of charge.
“Statistics prove that the physical, emotional and social outcomes for ‘aged-out’ foster kids is often bad—bad for the kids and bad for the community that often has no way of dealing with them,” said Debbie Robinson, President of The Association of Junior Leagues International, which represents 292 individual Junior Leagues in four countries. “For all of the money, time and effort we devote to keeping kids in foster care, unfortunately they are too often left on their own when they ‘graduate.’”
Looking back on this landmark action, we also see the value in small steps made by volunteer advocacy groups like The Junior League in advance of big steps made by international bodies like United Nations, with the CRC, or governmental organizations. Because, as we see it, passionate volunteer groups – wherever they are – can set the stage for policy solutions to tough issues.
Before Sesame Street aired for the first time on November 10, 1969, TV programming for kids was a joke without a punch line. Howdy Doody was better than most commercial efforts, but it never claimed to be educational. Then came Big Bird.
Sounds simple? It is.
Suddenly—and this is a good thing—“volunteerism” is hot. The Service Nation (http://www.servicenation.org) initiative brings together more than 200 non-profit organizations (including the Association of Junior Leagues International) to increase service opportunities and elevate service as a core ideal and problem-solving strategy in American society. There are a number of Obama Administration volunteer initiatives, including the Serve America Act and United We Serve (www.serve.gov). Even Hollywood is getting into the act with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s launch of its iParticipate (http://www.iparticipateusa.org) campaign this month to encourage a new era of service through the entertainment industry.
But how typical is Betty of real Junior League members (all 160,000 of them)?