2009 – The Literacy Coalition of Hancock County was established as a result of a community summit hosted by The Community Foundation (TCF), which revealed a notable lack of quantitative local and national data regarding the specific state of literacy in Hancock County, and that the creation of a literacy coalition purposed to focus local resources, expertise and interests on the issue of literacy in Hancock County would be a beneficial and strategic move for the community. In review of their research and recommendation, the TCF Board of Trustees moved forward with the creation of the Literacy Coalition of Hancock County (LCHC).
2010-2013 - The LCHC conducted research and assessments of the Hancock County literacy landscape, including Kindergarten Readiness Assessment scores, 2011 Hancock County Health Assessment, Six Disciplines community survey of businesses and literacy providers, research showing that brain development is most rapid during the first five years of life, and children who do not develop their reading skills by third grade will struggle with remediation. Key findings: 58.6% of Hancock County (HC) preschool aged children are not ready to enter kindergarten; 8% of HC adult population lack basic literacy skills.
2013 – The LCHC Board of Directors identified early childhood literacy as its first major initiative
2014 - The LCHC launched its first program to impact early childhood literacy through the implementation of the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL). The first children were enrolled in September. This research-based program provides age-appropriate books, selected by a blue ribbon panel of educators, on a monthly basis to children enrolled in the program beginning as early as birth until their fifth birthday. The cost of enrolling preschool one preschool child in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is $25 for each year the child is enrolled. Initial funding came from Hancock READS, Help Me Grow, Rotary Club, and Kiwanis Club. Projected full implementation of DPIL at 70% of county eligible population enrolled, would be more than 3,200 children at a cost of more than $72,000 / year. Funding was secured from The Community Foundation for three years.
2015 - The first LCHC Director was hired, with United Way of Hancock County acting as the fiscal agent, and the Hancock County Educational Center providing office and meeting space. Received our 501(c)3 status from the IRS. Received additional funding for DPIL from Handbags That Help (HTH), Library Patrons, Van Buren Elementary School, Hancock Leadership Class and individuals. Marathon LPGA Classic grant was awarded for DPIL and related programs for 2017-2019. The Coalition’s original goal was to enroll 644 children during the first year. At the one year mark we had 1,070 actively enrolled children, 101 graduates (those who reached age five), and 5,858 books distributed. This takes enrollment very close to our second year goal of 1,288 children!
2016 – Two DPIL related programs, Parent Partners and Family Literacy Nights, are starting in January. Parent Partners is a program that trains volunteers to go into the homes of underprivileged children who receive DPIL books, to coach the parents on the best ways to read to their children. Family Literacy Nights (FLN) are being held at four Findlay City Schools and four Hancock county schools. Families will learn literacy activities that they can do at home.
2017 - Our current LCHC programs are DPIL (serving 1,900 children in Hancock County and has mailed over 35,000 books), Tell-A-Tale (creative writing contest for grades K-5th grade), Spelling Bee (corporate fundraiser), Family Literacy Nights (at local schools), Parent Partners and Networking/Community Forums (for literacy providers). Community Books was started at the end of 2017 that allows the LCHC to provide books in bulk to non-profit organizations in Hancock County who see at-risk children. These non-profit organizations can then give each child five books to take with them.
2018 - Our Parent Partner program is revised into short videos, instead of home visits. The Community Books program was also established.