Vibrant communities begin with successful youth
The Jones County Community Foundation is making youth a priority through initiatives that help parents and schools ensure children are reading and learning to their full potential.
“Supporting children is a community-wide effort,” says Sherri Hunt, foundation coordinator. “When Jones County youth succeed, all our communities will benefit.”
Every Child Reads
Denny Folken, elementary principal of Monticello Community Schools, has seen these initiatives work for his students. Through Every Child Reads, the Jones County grade-level reading initiative, his district has partnered with others in the county to learn about barriers and successes in preschool, summer learning, and school attendance. Every Child Reads takes a community approach to helping children read at grade-level by third grade – an important indicator of future success. “We have found these collaborative conversations helpful as we dig deeper into the issues facing our children and families,” he says. “We look forward to the opportunities that will arise from this program.”
Vision To Learn
Through Vision To Learn, youth receive free glasses for the classroom and home. “Families are so grateful for this program,” says Folken. "On at least a few occasions, it brought tears of joy, as parents often can't afford to provide these services themselves.” This initiative became especially important during the COVID-19 crisis as schools closed, students learned at home, and economic hardship spread. Jones County students were prepared with prescription glasses from Vision To Learn screenings during the 2018-19 school year.
Christine Gent is the school nurse at Midland Community School in Wyoming, where students also benefitted from Vision To Learn. “No words can express the level of appreciation we have for the Community Foundation’s support of Vision To Learn,” says Gent. “Thanks to the Foundation, Vision To Learn provided a vision screening for every student in our district, and all who needed glasses received a pair at no cost to families.”
Dolly Parton Imagination Library
To provide families greater access to books and encourage reading, the Jones County Community Foundation invests in the internationally known Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This program is a collaborative of early childhood partners working to identify and enroll eligible Jones County children to receive one free book in the mail each month until age five.
Contact Sherri Hunt today to join these efforts. Future generations are counting on it.