Northwest Hospital Foundation and Venango County United Way Kick off Reading Program with New Year’s Baby

The Northwest Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Venango County have partnered to ensure all babies born at UPMC Northwest have the opportunity to register for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library if they live in Venango, Clarion, and Forest counties. Every baby will receive Dolly Parton’s first Imagination Library book, The Little Engine That Could.

Babies and children who are enrolled in the Imagination Library program from eligible counties receive one new book in the mail each month from birth until their fifth birthday.  The program helps families create a personal library of up to 60 books at no cost to them, with a goal of establishing a child’s early reading experience and habits.

The first family to receive the book and be registered at UPMC Northwest was baby Joyce, daughter of Devon Johnson and Rachel Wagonseller of Cooperstown, Venango County.  She was the first baby born at UPMC Northwest in 2022 at 2:35am on New Year’s Day.

Nurses in the Family Birthing Center at UPMC Northwest educate parents of eligible children about the program and assist with the brief registration form.  Approximately 600 babies are born annually at Northwest.

Books are selected by a national panel of early childhood literacy experts who review hundreds of children’s books each year and choose those that best fit the needs of children as they learn and grow.

“This kind of partnership, especially now, is much needed to be able to continue offering this program in Venango County. United Way is committed to helping children in our community to be successful in school and life. This program guarantees access to books and inspires parents to read to their children. As little as fifteen minutes a day has a giant impact on a child,” said Will Price, Executive Director, United Way of Venango County.

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