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Fri, Oct. 18

Imagination Library partners with Verde Valley Medical Center

Jodi Casper, RN, MSN/ED, and Megan Casper, share a book with Casper’s newborn daughter, Madison. VVIL courtesy photo

Jodi Casper, RN, MSN/ED, and Megan Casper, share a book with Casper’s newborn daughter, Madison. VVIL courtesy photo

Last November, the Verde Valley Imagination Library partnered with Northern Arizona Healthcare ‘s Verde Valley Medical Center to assure that all Verde Valley children have high-quality, age-appropriate books in their home starting in infancy.

The program mails a free book each month directly to the family home until the child turns 5. The hospital’s staff help parents enroll their newborns and their siblings. To date, they have registered 247 children, including 201 newborns.

Jodi Casper, RNC, MSN/Ed, VVMC Obstetrics Charge Nurse, explains: “We are very fortunate at Verde Valley Medical Center to assist with this wonderful program for young families of the Verde Valley. My colleagues and I are proud to promote the benefits of starting to read to children as infants, such as the positive results it can create for the child’s brain development, improved literacy, and the bonding between a parent and child. It is very easy to register families from the Verde Valley since it is a free program. Our parents are so excited to be enrolled in the program.”

The Verde Valley Imagination Library (VVIL) is the nonprofit local affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Presently, 1,750 Verde Valley children, receive books each month.

When children are enrolled in infancy, it is literally a free-gift of a 60-volume set of high quality books published by Penguin Random House and chosen by developmental specialists. With the help of all Rotary Clubs in the Verde Valley, the community libraries, Head Start and the Yavapai Apache Nation , the VVIL’s goal is to enroll 2000 Verde Valley children by July 2019.

Dr. Jean Barton, VVIL’s board president, retired pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics, notes: “Young brains need stimulation to develop normally and most brain development is complete by age 3.”

Children who are behind at age 3 are more likely to struggle in kindergarten, repeat grades and become frustrated. When parents talk, play and read regularly with their babies they are building the foundation for learning. Toddlers love receiving their own mail and busy parents love the convenience. Cuddling with a bedtime story is a lovely way to end the day and inspire a love of reading.”

Verde Valley Parents can enroll their children online at: www.vvilbooks.com

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