United Way of Western Connecticut recently sponsored a local contest to promote Imagination Library. The program is for preschool children and their families. It provides the gift of a free, specially selected book each month to children under age 5.
The United Way asked parents to submit a photo of their child reading to themselves or with their family. Votes were taken online, and the Reading Star this year received a personal oil portrait donated by famed artist Ed Little of Bridgewater. The contest received more than 10,000 votes from around the world for the 46 entrants. Aaron Panda of Danbury was selected as this year’s Reading Star winner.
Imagination Library currently serves little more than 4,000 children in the Greater Danbury area. The United Way has mailed 231,591 age appropriate books since 2009 to nearly 10,000 children in the area.
Imagination Library relies on funding partners to cover the costs of purchasing and mailing the books to the children enrolled in the program. Grant funding has been provided by Connecticut Community Foundation, New Canaan Community Foundation, Pitney Bowes, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Procter and Gamble (Duracell), and Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Tri-State Area.