Beginning July 15, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) employees and IBEW Local 329 union members will read children’s books for the United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s (UWNLWA) Virtual Volunteer Reading series. The series is part of the early childhood literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL).
The Virtual Volunteer Reading series started in April. The recordings will be streamed on YouTube, through UWNWLA’s website, and on social media platforms. The first book in the series is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, read by Chelsea Adcock, SWEPCO’s consumer programs marketing coordinator.
The bedtime stories promise to provide another online resource for parents and kids to learn together. The COVID-19 pandemic ended the school year early for thousands of children, and it has disrupted normal routines for families.
“COVID-19 has uprooted all that was normal in the everyday lives of children,” says Jennifer Horton, United Way vice president of community impact and operations. “We hope these videos will provide some comfort to kids and their families as we continue adjusting to virtual learning as part of our new normal.”
Since DPIL’s inception, over 150,000 books have been mailed to children in Northwest Louisiana. In April, United Way announced a $100,000 grant from the AEP Foundation to sponsor the Imagination Library. The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including SWEPCO.
Additional books in the 10-week series are:
- Your Kind of Mommy by Marjorie Blain Parker, illustrated by Cyd Moore, and read by Twila Dunlap
- Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Melissa Iwai, and read by Tony Rash
- Night Night Forest Friends by author, illustrator Annie Boch, and read by Michael Corbin
- Goodnight Numbers by Danica McKellar, illustrated by Alicia Padron, and read by Kawona Abmas
- Just One More by author, illustrator Jennifer Hansen Rolli, and read by Belinda Berry
- King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently, read by Lakisha Johnson
- Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino, read by Henry Brown
- Pouch by David Ezra Stein, read by Michelle Marcotte
- Look Out Kindergarten by Nancy Carlson, by Tony Rash
- I Just Want to Say Goodnight, read by Belinda Berry
- Thank You, World, read by Belinda Berry
- The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper, read by LaShonda Phelps
- Your Kind of Mommy, by Marjorie Blain Parker, illustrated by Cyd Moore, and read by Sherri Conde
Funding from the AEP Foundation will sponsor over 1,600 children, or 40,000 books, over the next two years. The Foundation, SWEPCO, and its employees continue to show how they Live United through their community engagement initiatives.