Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine visits Bellefontaine Friday

Ohio First Lady, Fran DeWine, made a scheduled stop in Bellefontaine Friday afternoon.

Mrs. DeWine came to read to children at the YMCA Early Learning Center located inside the Discovery Center building on 47 West Bellefontaine.

DeWine is an advocate for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library which sends books to young children around the country.

Logan County started with the library in 2017 which is funded both locally and by the state.  Since 2017, Logan County has received over $76,000 for the project from the state of Ohio.

The United Way of Logan County is the local affiliate, having invested over $150,000 in the early childhood literacy program.

Statistics prove that the earlier you get your children involved with books and reading the more successful they will be in the classroom.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library mails each child registered a book, at no cost, each month.

Mrs. DeWine has been campaigning around the state for the last few years to get children signed up and communities involved with the program.

Logan County currently ranks 4th in the state with 59% of eligible children (under 5 years old) currently enrolled.  That number is over 1,800.

The impact on the program is already showing. A study conducted within our local elementary schools last fall revealed that Logan County kindergarten students who received Imagination Library books as preschoolers tested 21 percent higher on their kindergarten assessments than students who did not.

If you have a child in Logan County, under the age 5, and would like to enroll in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library go to www.uwlogan.org and click on Dolly Library.

After her visit with the children, DeWine took a walking tour of downtown Bellefontaine.

Mrs. DeWine said her husband was here a few years ago and raved about his trip so she had to check it out.