Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, in 2009 presented $20,000 and their Angel Award to the late Jean McManus,left, of Eunice, whose dedication and efforts to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the children of Eunice inspired many others to support the program. At right is former first lady Supriya Jindal.
Hospital, United Way to celebrate library
Ten years ago, Acadian Medical Center, partnered with St. Landry-Evangeline United Way to distribute Dolly Parton Imagination Library enrollment forms in the hospital’s maternity ward and waiting areas.
The effort helped establish the state’s first Dolly Parton Imagination Library provide books and information to parents of newborns.
After a decade, St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, as the Imagination Library affiliate for St. Landry and Evangeline parishes, has provided over 100,000 free and age-appropriate books to about 3,000 local children.
Ginger LeCompte, executive Director of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way, said, “To mark this milestone, we decided to go back where it all began – to Eunice, and to a site where a child begins his journey of learning.”
Acadian Medical and St. Landry-Evangeline United Way will co-host a celebration that will recognize the first child born on Monday with a reception on Tuesday.
Michele Fruge’, the hospital’s marketing director, said, “This very lucky baby will be presented with gifts, balloons and of course, books.”
Participating in the celebration will be an array of invited guests, along with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, who, in 2009 presented $20,000 and their Angel Award to the late Jean McManus, of Eunice, whose dedication and efforts to bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to the children of Eunice inspired many others to support the program. “Her legacy lives on in the homes of thousands of children each time they pick up an Imagination Library book,” LeCompte notes.
Kevin Frank, CEO of Acadian Medical Center, said, “When we were approached with the opportunity to share this momentous occasion and to highlight the importance of reading to babies, we were delighted.”
He added, “Many babies born at Acadian Medical Center have benefited from the Imagination Library over the years.”
Calvin Green, CEO of Mercy Regional Medical Center, said, “We are pleased to say that Mercy Regional Medical Center has also benefited greatly from the efforts of the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library by supplying books to the many children in Evangeline Parish.”
St. Landry-Evangeline United Way has expanded the program to include an e-newsletter that goes out to the parents of the children enrolled. Eligible children up to 5 years old must reside in St. Landry or Evangeline parishes. The books are free to the child, but the cost of the program is about $36 per year, per child. Over a five-year enrollment, a child will end up with 60 books. Enrollment is based on the availability of funds, so people and organizations are encouraged to donate.
For more information on how to get involved with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, call the St. Landry-Evangeline United Way office at 337-942-7815 or visit uwsle.org.