CINCINNATI - Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine returned to the Tri-State Tuesday to launch a program that will bring free books to young children in Hamilton and Warren counties.
It’s all part of an effort to promote early childhood literacy across the state.
DeWine kicked off the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library (OGIL) locally last week in Butler, Clinton and Highland counties.
On Tuesday, she visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Avondale and Countyside YMCA in Lebanon.
At each stop, she sits down and shares her joy for reading with young boys and girls.
In Hamilton County, 53,000 children -- from birth to age 5 -- are eligible to receive a free, new book once a month, which is mailed to the child's home.
“Early childhood literacy has so many proven positives in a child’s life, and that’s why I’m thrilled to bring the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library Program to Hamilton County’s youngest children,” DeWine said. “I hope all 53,000 eligible children -- from birth to age five -- in Hamilton County will enroll to receive a free book every month. Mike and I believe every child should enter kindergarten with a good, strong start.”
In Warren County, 14,000 children will receive books.
“Today I am asking every parent, grandparent or caregiver in Warren County to take five minutes and sign-up their child for the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library," DeWine said.
In Hamilton County, local funds raised will be matched with state dollars provided in the state's FY 2020-2021 budget.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will administer the program here.
“There is no such thing as reading too much or starting too young,” said Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children’s. “The expansion of the Imagination Library program will help us make a positive difference in the health and lives of more children. We are grateful for the commitment and support of the Governor’s office, the Cincinnati Public Schools and all of our local organizations, philanthropic partners and businesses that are making this a reality.”
Since mid-December, DeWine has visited 16 Ohio counties to announce their addition to the program: Montgomery, Pike, Scioto, Jackson, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Wayne, Lawrence, Gallia, Meigs, Franklin, Highland, Clinton, Butler, Adams and Cuyahoga.
Sixty-seven counties are on board today, which means more than 140,000 Ohio children under the age of five are currently receiving the free books.
To sign up and learn more, visit www.OhioImaginationLibrary.org.