Needed: Urban families to sign up for free books


The Urban Neighborhood Initiative needs families to enroll to get free books each month for children under five years old.

The urban effort that serves all or part of nine center city neighborhoods got a $50,000 grant this fall and wants to enroll up the up to 700 children in its area.

“Every child under the age of five in the UNI area is now eligible to receive a new, age-appropriate book every month, through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library thanks to the generous grant from Burns & McDonnell,” Dianne Cleaver, UNI executive director, said in a press release.

She said Tuesday that about 40 families had signed up as of a few weeks ago.

The engineering company is committed to donating $50,000 to UNI each year over the next five years for the book program.

Mayor Sly James, who is involved in his own separate early reading initiative, is on the UNI board and its effort dovetails with his and other early education efforts, Cleaver said.

“These efforts reinforce each other,” Cleaver said. We’re very excited to have this opportunity for families in our area.”

Families can sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library through their neighborhood associations or by contacting the UNI office at 816-231-0822.

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