Community Impact Education Pathway Faces of Success: Charlotte Sass
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Title Education Pathway

Faces of Success: Charlotte Sass

Open up a mailbox and you’ll usually find a ton of junk mail. Flyers, coupons and catalogs make the whole process underwhelming. Emily Sass and her daughter Charlotte actually look forward to their daily trip to the mailbox.

“To get real mail — not just real mail, but a book — is so exciting for us,” said Sass.

Charlotte’s personal book collection continues to grow through her enrollment in the Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program. The program provides one book per month to children from birth to age five in Williamson, Davidson and Sumner Counties at no cost to families, regardless of income. Sass enrolled Charlotte in the Imagination Library program before her first birthday and loves seeing her daughter’s reaction each time a new book arrives at their home.

“We don’t even make it inside the house,” said Sass. “We stop at the stairs to read the new book immediately.” 

She marvels at Charlotte’s appetite for Imagination Library books and is also amazed at the impact the program’s had on her literacy foundation.

“I definitely didn’t have the enthusiasm or love for reading that she does,” Sass said. “We read an Imagination Library book a couple of times a day. Within a week, she can read it to us. My parents come over and they’ll ask, ‘When did she get this book?’ Charlotte’s so proud of her retention and vocabulary.”

Research shows that children who are read to regularly at home hear twice as many words every year and have 1/3 larger vocabulary by age three than children who are not read to at home. This is important because children who have not developed basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3 - 4 times more likely to drop out in later years.

United Way’s Imagination Library program reduces this potential outcome by providing age-appropriate books to more than 35,000 children in the program’s service area. The program distributed more than 396,000 books to Middle Tennessee children last year.

“Through the Imagination Library, we’ve been equipped with the resources to impact our child’s education,” said Sass. “Charlotte’s library stays full of books that she can keep and use as resources in many different situations.”

Imagination Library books are one example of United Way’s ability to change community conditions and create equal educational opportunities for children living in Davidson, Williamson and Sumner Counties. It’s never been easier to impact a child’s education.

“The books arrive at your door; there’s no excuse not to enroll,” said Sass. “It’s a no-brainer when we can reverse barriers and create opportunities for educational preparedness in our children without worrying about financial or logistical barriers.”

Those underwhelming trips to the mailbox are now ending with overwhelming feelings of joy and curiosity for children like Charlotte. United Way’s Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program demonstrates that there’s still valuable reading material in the mail, even in the age where junk mail dominates. 

To support United Way’s Imagination Library of Middle Tennessee program, text ILMT to 41444 or click here.

To learn more about United Way's Education programs, click here.
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