Jean McManus, recipient of 2008 Acadia Chapter Community Award
There are a myriad of reasons why Jean McManus, recipient of the 2008 Acadia Chapter Community Service Award, is worthy of this of the award. Yet, her latest endeavor, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, has brought Eunice a great deal of favorable press and has been an ongoing benefit to the community.
Ms. McManus has taken her love for little children and her desire that they all become literate, and worked tirelessly to establish this reading program in Eunice. Being a retired Special Education teacher, seventy-six-year-old Jean McManus chooses to look beyond her pleasure to the needs of children in her city by founding a program that affords children from newborn to five years of age a book of their own each month. However, her success in starting Louisiana’s first Dolly Parton Imagination Library was not without a great deal of work.
She pleaded for financial support, sponsors and participating children. Her perseverance gained media publicity and the
encouragement of governmental officials, parents and grandparents. Private businesses and individuals recognized McManus’ work, voluntary work, not work for which she was compensated- and realized that her dream was a viable one.
Because McManus believes that literacy is an attainable goal and that it begins long before any formal education, she has chosen to use her retirement years to help shape the academic future of the children of her community. Words cannot adequately describe the countless hours of research, meetings and even rejection that Jean encountered in her quest to help young children to gain a “jump-start” toward achieving their potential.
Because of her efforts, the city of Eunice is the first in the state of Louisiana to replicate Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. But, more importantly, she has enabled children to develop a love of books, a lifetime skill and a strong educational foundation.
McManus is also active in educational organizations and her church. She was recently named Citizen of the Year by the Eunice Rotary Club.