September 25, 2009

Optimist Club helps with childhood literacy effort

The Optimist Club of Carrollton, Georgia recently came together with the Ferst Foundation, Carroll County Schools and others interested in increasing childhood literacy to support early reading skills.  Through fund raising efforts the Foundation brings books to the community by offering annual subscriptions.  For an annual investment of $36, a child will receive one new book per month. 

Parents say that receiving the book is like opening a present and the children can't wait to read them, often together with their parents.  And that is just what the organizers want to hear, but to make it happen, it takes a lot of support from the community.

First of all, the books have to be purchased; the subscriptions have to be sold or donated; and then the books have to be delivered.  The community contributes at all levels, with much happening at the Burgers, Bands and Books Festival.  Families are entertained, silent auctions take place, books are sold, donations are given, and families sign up for the service while those that can't afford it are matched with sponsors willing to help.  In the four years that the activity has been held, the Carroll County Schools have tracked the results and claim that children participating in the program are reporting higher scores than others who have not.

So what does the Optimist Club do? On the day of the event, they work to bring out the best in kids offering a putt-putt course while parent shop.  Other activities are face painting, storytelling, performances from local bands and food.  After the event, the Optimist Club is one of many civic organizations that donate to the cause.  "I'm here for the kids and it's just a lot of fun," said Optimist Club member Bob Myers. 

Not only is it fun, it is a valuable community asset.  Keep it up!
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