Two Jackson County daycares received children’s books donations from Berea College’s Promise Neighborhood Initiative on May 2. Each daycare received 50 books that are considered important for children to read before kindergarten.

The first stop on the delivery route was Val’s Daycare, run by Valorie Gabbard. “Promise Neighborhood has brought me 50 books, and I appreciate it, and they will be used,” she said. “I love reading to my children that I keep, and it’s good for them, so I’m excited.”

The other delivery went to Pat’s Daycare, where Patricia Cox looked on as the children crowded around the box and pulled out books about subjects that ranged from dinosaurs, to farm animals to a steam shovel. “They all love to be read to,” she said. “And they all sit and pretend to read books.”

Tonya Huff, the Promise Neighborhood Academic Specialist for McKee Elementary, said that reading is key to a child’s development. “Reading is very important, especially being read to at that early of an age, because it helps their communication skills, which helps in their language development.”


Huff also shared a message for parents who want to learn more about the 50 books children should read before kindergarten. “If parents are interested in starting to read the 50 books with their children, they should know where they are accessible,” she said. In addition to donating sets of the books to the daycares, Promise Neighborhood donated sets to libraries and reading programs. “Anyone in Jackson County can check them out at the Jackson County Public Library,” she said. “And any school-aged kids or preschool kids can get them through Early Steps to School Success, through Save the Children, or the schools’ libraries.”

The Promise Neighborhood is a partnership between Berea College and Clay, Jackson and Owsley counties that is designed to help every young person travel from cradle to career through an educational pipeline supported by family and community. To find out more about the Promise Neighborhood, click here.