Greenfield teenager turns graduation party in fundraising efforts for reading

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GREENFIELD, Ind. — COVID-19 may have spoiled a Greenfield high schooler’s graduation party this summer, but it did not stop him from celebrating in his own way.

“If I can’t be with people, why not leave a legacy as my party to give back to the community,” says future Butler freshman Nolan Hemminger-Jones

When Hemminger-Jones decided to cancel his party, he instead asked his friends and family to help kids in his community read. He turned his party efforts into fundraising for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program.

“Every month they get a book until they turn five-years-old, so essentially they have 60 books in their library by the time they get to kindergarten,” explains Emily Wethington, Advancement Officer for the Hancock County Community Foundation, “We are in charge of raising the funds so that the program stays free to kids and children in our community.”

“They share, they “like,” they see it, so lots of people saw it and donated,” smiles Hemminger-Jones, “I hope every dollar goes to helping a kid learn to read.”

Nolan raised roughly $2,500 for the program. Wethington says that should provide around 80-85 children with books.

The Hancock County Community Foundation adopted the Imagination Library program in 2015. They partner with their local library.

“In 2018, I can give you that percentage, we were at 43% of kids [in Hancock County] that entered in kindergarten were below that readiness standard,” details Wethington.

“I really hope that this instills in [children] that reading is important still,” adds Hemminer-Jones, “As a kid, I always loved to read, and my Mom always helped to nourish that in me.”

He hopes this gift does the same for these children.

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