It was right under my nose—or rather, in my mailbox—the whole time.

When we moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Wilsonville, our children were signed up by the local Kiwanis club to receive a free book a month through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. The legendary country singer is a believer in childhood literacy and has devoted millions of dollars to help make books available to children from birth to 5 years old.

Our family couldn’t wait for the age-appropriate books
to show up in our mailbox each month. I must admit to a certain sadness when our kids were too old to get the books.

Then, a series of fortunate events occurred that brought us back into the program. Two of the Wilsonville Kiwanis members, Jan Rippey and Pat Duke, went on the road show through Eastern Oregon to encourage other organizations to invest in the Imagination Library. Leaders at Oregon Trail Electric Co-op attended the presentation and immediately saw the value. See the story on page 4-5 of this edition of Ruralite.

The partnership was far too obvious. Oregon’s electric cooperatives are committed to the future of the local communities we serve. Few things are more important than early childhood literacy.

Seizing on a connection I should have recognized years ago, Oregon electric co-ops then heard a similar presentation on the Imagination Library at the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s annual meeting last November. The support was overwhelming.

Several Oregon electric cooperatives are now following OTEC’s lead and, as a result, young children in communities across the state are receiving—or soon will—a book each month courtesy of their local electric cooperative.

I couldn’t be more pleased with this special partnership. A special thanks to Jan and Pat for spreading the word about this amazing program, and for the Oregon co-ops that recognized much quicker than I, the power of a single book arriving at your door each month.

Ted Case
Executive Director