ACADIANA, LA – Rarely do Public Service Announcements do more than just find a way to engage a small number while masses of others scurry for a new activity. In a rare instance, the United Way of Acadiana one a National Literacy Award for it’s short film telling the story of a community struggling to overcome obstacles such as illiteracy. The film, released in 2010, worked with the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way and local agency BBR Creative to tell of the involvement of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in their community.
The video took home first place in the Literacy Awareness category of the Literacy Powerline and Literacy Funders Network video contest. According to an official award letter, the Acadiana video had the ability to “inspire and motivate the community to join in the literacy effort.”
The film is both informative and visually stunning. Demetrius Glover, Ph.D., serves as Community Impact Director for Education for the United Way of Acadiana, when asked what set this film apart from other entries he answered, “We believe the use of real people and real stories is what captures viewers and ultimately makes our videos so powerful.” The film is indeed powerful and lets the viewer look directly into the eyes of women and children that deal with these struggles daily.
In 2009, the Women’s Leadership Council introduced Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. A short time later, a study from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette revealed that approximately 45% of parents read to their child every day before participating in the program; that percentage has increased to 71% since the families’ participation in the program.
When asked for the motivation behind this project, Glover very simply stated, “The children of Acadiana. If one child's life can be improved through participating in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library we have been successful.” It is safe to say that more than one child has been positively influenced from the program, they now mail out books to over 2,700 registered children in their area covering four parishes.
The United Way of Acadiana has made their award-winning film – and others including their 2011 follow-up – available to the public. All films are posted to the website for a period of time before being archived on their Vimeo channel for sharing and viewing. For links to this film, and others, follow their social media links and eNewsletters which can be found on their website at unitedwayofacadiana.org.