Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library


Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a program that provides free, high-quality books mailed monthly to a child from birth to his/her 5th birthday.  This program is open to all children, regardless of their family’s  income.  There is no cost to parents who enroll their children.


Beginning March 2nd, families living in either the Benzie County Central or Frankfort-Elberta school district will be able to register their children age birth to 4 years & 10 months for the program.  Kick-off events will be happening at the county libraries and 5toOne playgroups.  Registrations will be completed at these events or parents may go online to and search Benzie County under the Affiliate Locator.


Kick-Off Event Details


Start-up funding for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library-Benzie County was provided by:

Rotary District 6290

Benzie Sunrise Rotary Club

Frankfort Rotary Club

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Missions Projects

Annual Meeting Summary: Feb 4, 2019

The annual meeting of Advocates for Benzie County was held on Monday night, February 4, at the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church.  Supporters and active leaders of the organization received valuable reports on the progress of programs which have been initiated this past year.

Kay Bond, volunteer executive, gave an up-to-date report on the START (Skilled Trades Apprenticeship ReadinessTraining) plans for 2019. Following last year’s class of seven students, it was decided to continue with three more classes of students this year.  The project will include the building of a house on property in Thompsonville.  Financial support is being provided by grants and contributions, but the $419,000 project will need more funding before the classes begin.  John Parkin, treasurer for ABC, made clear the fact that no money would be borrowed, and that each effort needed to be self supporting before it is initiated.

The Education Task Force, led by Valerie Gerhart, is prepared to begin the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in March.  Young children and their families will be provided books each month for children to read or be read to.   Money for this program has been raised, and families with young children, birth through 5 years, are being identified.  In addition, the Task Force is promoting a mentoring program for children at the Crystal Lake Elementary School.  Valerie mentioned two other schools, Betsie Valley School and Lake Ann School, which have been “adopted” for mentoring by Blaine Christian Church and Advent Lutheran Church.

The Advocates, through a Community Centers Task Force led by Ingemar Johannson, has been working to develop the Platte River School for uses by the community.  It was announced that Benzie Senior Resources is seriously interested in providing its services through the building.  This would go a long way in facilitating effective use of the old school for the community.

The Advocates have also been wanting to make a difference in the matters of employment, low income housing, and child care.  These three challenges are interrelated.  Reports were given about the work that has been done so far in these areas.  The organization is grateful for the efforts being made to cope with these problems.  Conversations are being held with local government agencies to determine what role they may have in confronting these important concerns.

Appreciation was expressed for the leadership of Jack Harnish, the President of ABC, for Ric Robb for the years of his being an important part of the development of the whole program, and for Kay Bond, who has led the organization as a volunteer Executive Director since the middle of 2018.  All in all, this young organization has involved the volunteer services amounting to over 7,000 hours of men and women who care about supporting a better Benzie County.

New Board members were elected before the meeting adjourned.  Those elected were: Brooke Haase, Class of 2020; Keith Schaub, Class of 2021; and Bryan Langenpfeffer, Jean Bowers and Jennifer Adkins, Class of 2022.

Join S.T.A.R.T.

Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Readiness Training (S.T.A.R.T.)


There is a high demand for workers in the skilled trades and that trend will continue as many carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other workers reach retirement age. Nationwide, 80 percent of home builders report labor shortages. Apprenticeship programs offer an opportunity to train for secure, financially rewarding employment doing work in which you can take pride. The average annual salary for a journey person in the construction trades: $55,000 a year (2016 data). In 2019, START has openings for up to 10 people, age 18 and up, in each of three sessions (30 total) to gain new skills while contributing to the community by building an affordable home.

The Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Readiness Training (S.T.A.R.T.) can serve recent graduates, veterans, hands-on learners who found college was not the best fit, or any worker who is unemployed, underemployed, or working in seasonal employment.

The program provides hands-on training, structure, and experience in problem solving, teamwork, and leadership. Along with new skills, participants can explore future opportunities while experiencing pride in hard work and craftsmanship.

Successful participants have a passion to change the world and their own lives in an honorable way – one that can be physically measured and in which they can take pride.

Successful graduates receive an industry recognized certificate.

For more information contact or call the Advocates for Benzie County office at 231.227.1166 and leave a message.


For more information or to sign up use the links below.

START Brochure

START Application

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