DKG International names Dolly Parton honorary member

Decisions about the Delta Kappa Gamma International 2020 Convention that is planned for July 7-11 in Philadelphia are still pending. Our local DKG Alpha Upsilon Chapter is an affiliate of the DKG International Society. In the meantime, the administrative board is moving forward with plans, whether or not Philadelphia is open for business by July 1.

An international convention is a $1 million event funded by registrations, sponsors, meals, hotel contract, vendor/speaker contracts, et cetera, associated with the event. To cancel a major event such as this can be harsh, but holding a convention at a time with the COVID-19 pandemic could jeopardize the health and safety of members.

This pandemic has certainly caused chaos and put everything in an indecisive position.

However, one decision has been made by DKG International, and that is naming Dolly Parton as its newest International honorary member.

The honorary membership is awarded only to a woman who is not eligible for active membership but has made contributions and rendered notable service of statewide, national or international significance to education.

Dolly Parton is an award-winning American singer, actress and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, but she is also known for her Imagination Library. In 1995 Parton launched the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which has gifted more than 133 million free books to children worldwide as of February 2020.

The program was first launched in her childhood home of Sevier County, Tennessee, and became a success. National replication began in 2000, and more than one million books were distributed by 2003.   High-quality, age-appropriate books are mailed free of charge to all children participating, no matter their family’s income, from birth until they begin school.

Parton and the DPIL have received numerous awards and honors for their commitment to enhancement of children’s lives internationally. DPIL has embraced the COVID situation by creating “Goodnight with Dolly — Imagination Library Bedtime Stories with Dolly Parton,” wherein Parton reads a series of Imagination Library books specifically chosen for this unique moment in time.

Once a week for 10 weeks, Parton has been reading a book at 7 p.m. and delivering a message to keep hope alive and pass on the love. The series began April 2.

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