Displaying items by tag: children

Parton’s Imagination Library reaches one million books distributed each month


PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (November 16, 2016) – Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which began as a small community outreach in Parton’s native Sevier County, Tennessee, has evolved to become the largest literacy program in the world. In December, the “little literacy program that could” marks another impressive milestone—one million books gifted to children around the world each month.

To celebrate the unprecedented success, Evey Johns, a two-year-old from Conway, Arkansas who just enrolled in the Imagination Library, has been randomly selected to receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The announcement was made by Parton during her Pure & Simple concert tour stop in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee on Nov. 15. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Imagination Library.

“I thought long and hard about the best way to honor our achievement of reaching a million children a month,” Parton said. “The Imagination Library is all about inspiring dreams, so what better way to pay tribute to this moment than by helping one special child pursue her college degree. I’m thrilled that today I can let the world know that precious little Evey Johns from Conway, Arkansas will receive a $30,000 scholarship for the college of her choice.”

The scholarship will be held in a special account and distributed to Johns when she enrolls in college. Over the next 16 years, the amount of scholarship should grow to nearly approximately $50,000. Johns is enrolled in the Imagination Library in Conway thanks to the local affiliate in her area, Arkansas Preschool Plus.

“The thought of our daughter Evey going to college has been just that—a thought,” explained Evey’s mother, Connie. “Now, due to the enormous kindness and generosity of the Dollywood Foundation, that thought has now become a reality. Our family now has the means to develop a solid plan for our daughter’s future education. Thank you all so much for this unbelievable opportunity for our daughter.”

In 2016, the Imagination Library and its local partners will gift nearly 11.5 million books to children from birth to age five in participating communities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. To date, the Imagination Library, which is administered through the Dollywood Foundation, has provided more than 85 million books to children around the world.

Arkansas Preschool Plus is just one of the many local affiliates the Dollywood Foundation works with to provide books to children. To provide the Imagination Library, a community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area, and the community pays for the books, promotes the program and registers the children. The Dollywood Foundation manages the delivery of books to children’s homes.

Arkansas Preschool Plus enrolls 960 children in Conway, Faulkner and Perry Counties. Currently, nearly 15,000 children are enrolled in Arkansas. The Imagination Library currently is working with elected officials, foundations and corporations in Arkansas in an effort to make the program available to all children from birth to age five in the state.

About Dolly Parton's Imagination Library:
Founded in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting organization that has, to date, mailed more than 85 million books to children in Australia, Belize, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. Each month, the program currently mails more than one million specially selected, high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children from birth until they start Kindergarten in participating communities. Dolly envisioned creating a lifelong love of reading in children, preparing them for school and inspiring them to dream. Recent studies suggest participation in the Imagination Library is positively and significantly associated with higher measures of early language and math development. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

About The Dollywood Company:
A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort; and Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of nearly 30 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 25 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). In 2014, Dollywood was named a top three US theme park by USA Today and TripAdvisor recognized Dollywood as a top 20 worldwide theme park in 2015. Dollywood is open nine months a year (late March through early January) and offers rides and attractions, shows, and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel as one of the country’s most beautiful waterparks and named 2009’s Must-See Waterpark by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions, operates from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort provides guests spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins offers luxurious cabin accommodations overlooking Dollywood. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit Operating days and hours vary.

Wombacher, a San Francisco Bay Area–based dog trainer, has seen too many dog owners feel forced to choose baby over dog and has created a doable process to make this difficult choice unnecessary. And yes, doable means that the busiest of expectant parents can easily incorporate these practices pre-birth.


An estimated 40 percent of American households, or 75 million, are now home to at least one dog. As the social status of dogs had changed (and let’s get real, they’ve transitioned from the backyard to the bedrooms of most homes over the past 50 years) there is an increasing body of information that illustrates the many health benefits of a loving relationship with man’s best friend.


Studies show that children who have dogs are less narcissistic and possess greater, authentic self-esteem and empathy than children who don’t. Children with dogs tend to be more active and are less likely to suffer from chronic childhood obesity. When well-integrated, dogs and children make fantastic companions.


The only tears that should come with welcoming a baby into the home should be tears of joy – not tears associated with a difficult decision that could have been prevented especially if the owners had access to a series of simple strategies designed to prepare the dog for the new arrival. In Good Dog, Happy Baby, Wombacher lays out a twelve-step process that will give families the skills they need to navigate this new era of their lives. These skills include:


  • How to evaluate your dog and identify potential problems long before your child arrives
  • How to resolve common behavioral problems such as barking, counter surfing, object guarding, door crashing, jumping up, overprotectiveness, fearfulness, separation anxiety, and much more.
  • How to be sure your dog understands his place in the pack.
  • How to teach your dog to build positive associations with the presence of your child, while at the same time to exhibit acceptable behaviors and to become more closely integrated into your pack. (continued)
  • How to avoid fostering a competitive dynamic between your dog and your new baby.
  • How to decide if a dog’s dangerous behavioral problems are so severe that you should consider rehoming.


“From a great deal of practical experience, I know that the actions outlined in Good Dog, Happy Baby work. The essential trick is taking the time to do them — sooner rather than later, ” Wombacher says.

Dog trainer Michael Wombacher has performed tens of thousands of private behavioral consultations. He also lectures, teaches classes, runs a small boarding and training operation, and trains other trainers. His approach focuses on working with, rather than overriding, a dog’s natural drives and instincts. He lives in Oakland, California. His website is



Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers who are interested in owning or already own a classroom pet can apply to receive funding through the Pets in the Classroom grant program.

The Pet Care Trust's Pets in the Classroom grant program will begin accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year beginning August 1st.  The grant program provides Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade teachers in both private and public schools who desire to introduce a pet into the classroom or already have a pet in the classroom with funding toward a small animal or for pet supplies.  Interested teachers are welcome to apply.

Studies, including one completed by the American Humane Association and the Pet Care Trust, indicate that classroom pets provide a variety of benefit to students.  These studies reinforce teachers’ experience  that classroom pets: aid in improving school attendance, encourage nurturing, build self esteem, promote empathy, teach responsibility, stimulate learning, enrich the classroom experience, and become friends. This is why the Pet Care Trust has established the goal of introducing 5 million children in 100,000 classrooms to pets and the benefits they provide.  And with 76,475 grants having been issued since the program’s inception, nearly 3 million children have already experienced these benefits thanks to the Pets in the Classroom grant program. 

The program was established by the Pet Care Trust with the knowledge that, while they are a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals.  Through the grant program, teachers have the option to obtain a pet through one of the program’s participating retailers- Petco, Petsmart, Pet Supermarket, Pet Supplies Plus, Petland, and Petland Discounts – or to purchase their pet through a local pet store through a rebate grant.  Past grant recipients are not eligible to receive funding for a new classroom pet, but are welcoming to apply for a sustaining grant, which provides up to $50 to maintain an existing classroom pet. With eight different grant types, each teacher has the opportunity to choose which grant is right for him or her through a direct, no-hassle application on the Pets in the Classroom website (

For more information, visit   

San Francisco, CA – (June 22, 2016) - For the tenth year, Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy, recognizes the Best Green Toy and Children’s Products and the Best Green Company.

The 2016 Dr. Toy’s Best Green Company Award is proudly presented to. Green Kids Club.
Past Best Green Company Winners are: Bears for Humanity, Blue Orange Games, Green Toys, Hape Toys, Hugg a Planet, Maple Landmark. OWI, Plan Toys, and Thames & Kosmos.
The award winning 2016 Dr. Toy’s Best Green Toys and Children’s Products are made by companies striving to inspire children to appreciate the environment and help them learn to take better care of our natural resources. These companies are making products to teach children more about our planet and producing playthings that are based on green principles.
These are excellent examples of playthings that are made safely, are healthy to use, and have plenty of other special play and learning values.
These green products constitute a small number among all the choices of the many positive play products available, but we need to start somewhere.
As awareness grows, more families are thinking and considering new directions that are safer, more balanced, healthier, and in many cases are reflective of the “slow” movement as they provide play that respects the child’s pace of exploration.
About the 2016 Best Green Company
Dr. Toy is pleased to bestow the highly coveted tenth annual Best Green Company Award to Green Kids Club
Unique, multi-faceted approach to engaging kids through stories, activities, lessons, video and music. The Green Kids Club works with animals to improve our world by using basic sustainability concepts of preservation, reduction, prevention and mitigation. Stories are developed to teach children the importance of protecting habitats to maintain ecosystems, animal life and ultimately human life.
More details at and
About Best Green Products
Dr. Toy recognizes these fine Best Green Toy Products and the astute, eco-aware companies making these eco-friendly products. They are each making a difference in their own way and making important contributions. Each step moves us toward a healthier home and community.

Dr. Toy has identified diversified products that help children learn more about their world, and have found quality products either made from organic materials or produced in ways that are healthier. Consumers are encouraged to consider these products for home or school or as gifts.
Dr. Toy is again pleased to recognize diverse, ground breaking companies and a range of products that are helping to create a healthier place for everyone to live.
About Dr. Toy:
Dr. Toy™, Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., has been for many years one of the leading professionals on children’s play, educational toys, and related products. Dr. Auerbach relies on 45 plus years of training and hands-on experience to select the best educationally oriented, skill building products from both large and small companies world-wide for her original, annual award programs. Millions of parents, teachers, and toy buyers use Dr. Toy’s Guide (, the first site on the Internet on toys, in making their toy learning and play selections. Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Select and Use the Best (now in its 4th edition and published in 12 countries) is a unique guide to play, child development, and appropriate toys from baby to older children and playful adults.
The Dr. Toy Award Programs recognize the best toys and play things in many categories including, Best of the Year, Best Picks, Best Classics, Best Vacation, and Best Green. The website has links to the product makers and retailers and other useful sites for parents, teachers, children, and toy enthusiasts. Dr. Toy’s Guide  provides all pertinent information and includes photos, complete product descriptions, links to company sites, and consumer information. Interact with Dr. Toy on social media through FacebookTwitter, Pinterest and YouTube.  
Check also Dr. Toy’s Best Gift Guide Mobil App for your convenience.                                                    
Dr. Toy's 2016 Green Products
Product, Type
Amazing Toys
Amazing Eco Ten CO CP ES GN
Bizibots AC CP GN WT
Good Duck AE OP GN BA
0 mo-12yr
Green Kids Club
Shark and the Volcano BO ES EC SR
Green Toys
Rescue Boat & Helicopter BA GN EC TY
Horizon Group
Creative Roots Hand Print Stone AC AS CP GN
Horizon Group
Miracle-Gro My Fairy Flower Terranium CP EC ES OP
Horizon Group
Miracle-Gro My First Garden EC ES GN OP
Paper Trax Toys
Paper Trax Super Pack AE CO GN SC
Tactic Games
Hit360 AE EC GE WT
Tactic Games
Wild Republic
Creations Jewelry AS NO SC SR
AC = arts and crafts
AE = active
AS = accessories and decor
BA = bath toy
BO = book
CO = construction
CP = creative
EC = eco-friendly
ES = educational skills
GE = game
GN = green
NO = novelty
OP = outdoor play
SC = science
SR = socially responsible
TY = toy
WT = wooden toy


For Ten Years Running, Wild Birds Unlimited Helps Children Go To Camp

NEW YORK (May 12, 2016)- Each year, more than 6,000 campers from grades Pre-K to 12 spend time outside and connect with the natural world at any one of the National Audubon Society’s 30 nature camps in 21 states. For the past decade, thousands of these campers have been able to attend thanks to the generosity of Wild Birds Unlimited, North America’s largest franchise system of bird-feeding and nature specialty stores. This year, 125 more children will gain the experience of a lifetime made possible by a Wild Birds Unlimited $25,000 scholarship.

“Inspiring the next generation of leaders to care about birds and the environment is paramount to the overall success of Audubon’s conservation mission,” said Elaine O’Sullivan, Director of Educational Publishing at Audubon. “Thanks to the generosity of Wild Birds Unlimited, we can attract campers from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Do yourself, your children and the world’s birds a favor and enroll your kid in an Audubon nature camp today. Not only will the children and their families benefit from a world-class environmental education, but birds will have gained a lifelong advocate.”

Study after study show children are spending less time outdoors than ever before. Not only are America’s youth missing out on the natural beauty of the United States, but studies also demonstrate lifelong benefits of unplugging and connecting with nature. Each of Audubon’s 30 day camps and 3 overnight camps have their own unique themes and cater to the interests and needs of the children in their respective communities.

“By providing children with an opportunity to experience natural surroundings in these camps, we’re building what often becomes a lifelong passion for nature and conservation,” said Jim Carpenter, CEO and Founder of Wild Birds Unlimited.

For more information on details about general registration, camp programs and scholarships please contact the camp where you or your children want to connect to nature. Scholarship eligibility is determined by each camp. A full list of Audubon camps and locations can be found here.


Wild Birds Unlimited is the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 280 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Wild Birds Unlimited specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit their Web site and shop online at


The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at and @audubonsociety.


Universal Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures and Blumhouse Productions present a PG-13, 94 minute, Comedy, Horror, directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan with a theater release date of September 11, 2015.

Calling all creative kids! Bob Vetere, APPA President & CEO, is excited to announce that the association’s non-profit campaign, Pets Add Life (PAL), is kicking off the 8th Annual Pets Add Life Children’s Poetry Contest beginning September 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016. Students in 3rd-8th grade are encouraged to write original poems about the joys of owning pets of all types for a chance at top prizes for both themselves and their classroom.

Participants can submit poems via PAL’s Facebook page at, online at or mail final poems and submission forms to:

Pets Add Life
50 Washington St. Suite 100
Reno, NV 89503

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2016 at 5 p.m. EST.

Additionally, teachers within these grade levels are welcome to incorporate this national contest into their lesson plans and submit poems in one entry on behalf of their classroom.

One student from each grade nationwide (6 total) will win a $250 gift certificate for pet products, and a potential “by-line” in a nationally circulated publication or online outlet. Additionally, the six winning students’ classrooms will each win a $1,000 grant to spend on pet-related education or to support a classroom pet.

To learn more about the Pets Add Life Children’s Poetry Contest, read previous winning poems, upload submissions, or download submission forms, please visit or contact Ashlee Verba at 775.322.4022 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958.  APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises.  APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit for more information.

Campaign features new website, short video voiced by actress Selma Blair, and children’s storybook

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2015 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a new educational campaign for children called “What Elephants Like” ( The aim is to help parents start an important conversation about the delicate issue of elephant suffering, without using any graphic language or images. The initiative includes an interactive website; a powerful 30 second video voiced by actress Selma Blair; and a children’s storybook, all designed and produced for Born Free USA by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. 

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, “The shocking mistreatment of wild animals used for entertainment has gone on far too long. The goal of this initiative is to provide families with attractive, kid-friendly, non-graphic tools that can help promote an age-appropriate, meaningful conversation. Born Free is dedicated to empowering future conservationists by helping them understand at a young age what is happening in wildlife conservation, and learn how they can make a difference. Elephants—and all wild animals—belong in the wild, and no one is too young to understand that.”

The 30 second video features five elephants, with one attempting to stand on a barrel in the wild. The message is that elephants in entertainment have no choice and are forced to do something that is unnatural. 

The storybook, What Elephants Like, by Joel Lugar, produced by Born Free USA, with illustrations by Evan Schultz and Tyler Jensen, is a beautiful children’s book that appropriately entertains and enlightens readers with the message of keeping wildlife in the wild. The book is available at as a free e-book, downloadable PDF, and coloring book, and can be purchased ($15.99, softcover, color, 8" x 10", 28 pages) at

The website also offers fun facts about elephants and more information about how people can get involved. 

Roberts adds, “The goal for the book, video, and website is to explain that these are extraordinary animals, and when you see them confined behind bars or forced to do tricks and perform, it is not natural, humane, or acceptable. We want kids to understand that these highly intelligent, sensitive, gentle giants deserve to thrive in the wild.” 

Fun Facts about Elephants

  • There are three species of elephant: African savannah, African forest, and Asian.
  • Elephants live in family groups that combine to form herds.
  • Elephant family groups are matriarchal, which means that one of the older females is the leader.
  • Elephants are very social. They like to hang out with other elephants and communicate in various ways, from loud trumpeting to low rumbling (so low that humans can't even hear it) that other elephants can hear more than two miles away.
  • Elephants use their trunks for a lot of different things, including reaching for food, blowing water onto their backs to cool off, and even as a snorkel for breathing while under water.
  • Elephants can live up to 70 years in the wild.
  • Elephants are happier in the wild; they should live free. But, they are at risk of being captured for circuses and zoos, or being killed by poachers for their ivory tusks.
  • They are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants like grass, fruit, bark, and twigs.
  • They use their tusks to dig and find water, clear pathways through the forest, shake fruit out of trees, and make scratches on tree trunks to mark their territory.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at;; and

Pets in the Classroom launches social media campaign to raise $60,000 to aid educators and students

The Pets in the Classroom grant program is joining the crowdfunding revolution in an effort to raise funds needed to help them reach their goal of impacting the lives of 5 million students by 2017 through classroom pets and the benefits they provide.   With a hope of raising $60,000, Pets in the Classroom is asking people to support the grant program by making a donation at

 Donations to Pets in the Classroom will aid in the development and learning of children inspired by interactions with a classroom pet. Classroom pets benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond. Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance, teaching children responsibility, encouraging nurturing and building self-esteem.  Numerous Pets in the Classroom grant recipients have confirmed the emotional and educational value to students in having small animals in the classroom as well as the importance of having the financial support of the Pets in the Classroom grant program:

"My students come from very poor, rough neighborhoods and homes. When school first started six weeks ago, I had to write multiple referrals per day for violent acts. Since Ella the Guinea Pig came to share our classroom, I have not [had] any violent acts and the noise level has gone way down because they don't want her to be frightened. They beg their families to let them bring a carrot stick from home or they ask me if they can save part of their lunch to share with her. The best part is watching the empathy they developed for Ella begin to transfer to their peers. Ella has done something in four weeks that I may or may not have been able to do all year."

~ Marie Roberts, Prime Prep Academy, Fort Worth, Texas

"My experience with the program has been overwhelmingly positive.  I am an elementary music teacher in a low income district in southern New Jersey, serving approx. 650 students per year.  "Phil", our bearded dragon has become a school mascot of sorts.  Not a school day goes by without countless students coming to see him, talk to him, or for the privileged ones, feed him.  He has become an integral part of science lessons in several classrooms, graphing and charting his growth rate, and even has his own Instagram page.  Students are very motivated to be chosen as the weekly "Phil's Feeders Club".  I cannot thank the grant enough for opening my eyes to just how much ANY student can benefit from the experience."

~Chris Hannah, Dr. William Mennies Elementary School, Vineland, New Jersey              

 “Through this grant, we were able to offset the cost of a few months supply of food and hay.  By saving these costs, we are able to provide more educational supplies and materials to our students.” 

~ Lani Douglas, Inman Park Cooperative Preschool, Atlanta, Georgia

 Pets in the Classroom is overseen by the Pet Care Trust, a non-profit, charitable, public foundation  incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1990. The Pets in the Classroom grant program was established by the Pet Care Trust with the knowledge that, while they are a valuable teaching tool, many teachers have very limited resources for the support of classroom animals.  Through this educational grants program, teachers can obtain a grant for the purchase of new pets, pet environments, or pet food, and supplies for existing classroom pets through a direct, no-hassle grant application on the Pets in the Classroom website ().

To date, more than 50,000 grants have been awarded to elementary and middle school classrooms. Each grant, ranging from $75-$125, aids one classroom, and on average 45 children. Since the program began just four years ago, The Pets in the Classroom grant has impact around 2,250,000 children. To help Pets in the Classroom reach 27,000 more students through the crowdfunding campaign, donate at ;

About Pets in the Classroom

Pets in the Classroom is a grants program supporting responsible pet care for our public and private school classrooms. Grants are available for elementary teachers grades pre-K through 8th grade.

About StartSomeGood

StartSomeGood aims to empower people from around the world to create social impact by connecting those with ideas for improving the world with the financial and intellectual capital they need to take action.

Warner Bros. Pictures, Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, Imagine Entertainment and Blue Sky Films present a 110 minute, PG-13, based on true events drama directed by Philippe Falardeau and written by Margaret Nagle with a theater release date of October 3, 2014.

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