FiveCAP receives donation for literacy program

LAKE COUNTY — On March 16, the Consumers Energy Foundation presented FiveCAP Inc., with a $44,000 grant to deliver books to children in Lake, Manistee and Mason counties beginning this month.

The donation will be used as part of the Imagination Library program. The program was begun by Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation in 1996 in Tennessee, where Parton grew up, after she recognized the correlation between lower literacy levels in the area and a lack of access children had to books. The program has since expanded via local community sponsors in various communities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

"We are committed to building opportunities for the next generation of Michigan’s children," said David Mengebier, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president for governmental and public affairs and president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. "The Imagination Library program will help to build enhanced reading skills for the youngest children in the Northwest Michigan communities we serve."

Approximately 10 million books have been distributed to children since the program began.

"Learning to read starts at birth,” said Joan Meeusen, FiveCAP assistant/director of education and training. "By funding the Imagination Library literacy program, Consumers Energy is helping provide area children from infancy to preschool age with books to handle, the opportunity to be read to, and setting the groundwork for them to become successful readers."

From the month a child is born until their fifth birthday, kids enrolled in the program are eligible to receive books delivered to their home through Imagination Library as long as they remain a resident of Lake, Manistee or Mason counties. Books are delivered by the U.S. postal service and can be kept permanently.

Contact FiveCAP’s main office in Scottville at (231) 757-3785 to sign up a child to receive books, or for more information.