MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Best-selling author and nationally known speaker, Annie F. Downs, has partnered with Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) on a literacy initiative for preschoolers in Rockcastle, McCreary, and Jackson Counties. Downs, who visited Appalachia on a mission trip as a teen, wanted to find a way to help people in the region. Providing books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was the perfect fit for the former school teacher. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they begin school, no matter their family’s income.
"The gift of reading is life-changing because it expands your mind by introducing you to different people and places. When children are able to read, it opens up educational opportunities which in turn will provide a better life and future for them,” Downs said.
Guy Adams, President/CEO of CAP, was interviewed by Downs earlier this year for “The New Activist” podcast, in which they discussed ways that CAP services are having a transformational impact on the region.
“CAP is excited to partner with Annie Downs who is doing so much to transform the lives of her readers,” Adams said. “Our mission is to build hope, transform lives, and share Christ’s love through service in Appalachia. Our partnership with Annie is a perfect embodiment of that mission.”
Downs is promoting a fundraising campaign that kicked off with her “That Sounds Fun” podcast featuring Mike O’Brien, CAP’s coordinator at Camp AJ in Jackson County, this week. An autographed copy of Downs’ book “100 Days to Brave” will be given away at the conclusion of the campaign on Aug. 31. In addition to the summer camp programs, CAP works with children in Eastern Kentucky year around to strengthen academic skills, as well as provide essential needs like school supplies, clothing, and food.
“I am blessed to be able to partner with CAP to make it possible for every child in Rockcastle, Jackson, and McCreary Counties to receive a free book each month through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. These books will be a gift to each child and their entire family. It is such an honor to be a part of putting so many books in the hands of children in Appalachia.”
During the last fiscal year for Christian Appalachian Project, 1,158 children from low-income families attended week-long summer camp; 1,935 students received in-school curriculum, tutoring, mentoring, and leadership training; an additional 278 at-risk children received educational support through preschool, infant toddler, parents are teachers, and after-school programs.
To support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Eastern Kentucky, visit christianapp.org/anniefdowns.