Coweta County schools raised more than $16,000 to support the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy with their 2016 coin drives.
In its 10th year, the coin drive brings Coweta elementary, middle and high schools together for a friendly competition to see which can raise the most money to support the Ferst Foundation, which provides free books each month to registered children until their fifth birthdays.
Each county school planned creative fundraisers to raise coins for the foundation. It was a record year for local collections, which will make it possible to mail books and literacy activities to the homes of 6,871 children in Coweta County.
This year’s winners were Brooks Elementary School with $1,753; Madras Middle School with $4,030; and Newnan High School with $1,201.64. Each winning school was awarded $100 from United Bank, which counts and deposits the coins contributed by schools.
“We’re happy to be supportive of the county schools in so many things, and I’ve enjoyed supporting this drive for the Ferst Foundation,” said Harold McCoy of United Bank.
Brooks Elementary raised money by hosting a Read-A-Thon which allowed students who made a donation toward the coin drive to bring pillows, blankets and their favorite books.
“We believe that it is a community effort to encourage not only early literacy skills in our children, but to also foster a love of reading, which will last throughout their lives,” said Brooks Principal Amy Harrison. “At Brooks Elementary, we are more than happy to support the Ferst Foundation, who provides much needed books for every child in Coweta County.”
Madras principal Lorraine Johnson said her school’s coin drive was promoted by the Future Educator’s Club and included team competitions and school socials. And while “we greatly appreciate the prize money,” she said, Madras will donate its $100 back to the Ferst Foundation.
“One of our school’s four core values is empathy, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the community,” Johnson said. “Early childhood literacy is so critical to a child’s development and has a direct impact on all of us. Raising money to help provide resources for families that will encourage them to read frequently with their children is one way we can help.
“We want to thank United Bank for all they do and for their partnership with the Coweta County School System,” Johnson added.
Newnan High School sponsored a reading initiative which included a gently used book giveaway at a Cougar football game. Students in the stands, at a table and at each gate collected donations for the Ferst Foundation and provided registration forms for the literacy program.
“I am also so proud of the number of faculty members who again chose to individually sponsor a child's books for a year providing the full registration fee for the year,” said teacher and club sponsor Nikki Henderson. “We are Newnan and Newnan High reads.”
In Coweta County, a team of volunteers works to generate funds to pay for Ferst books through fundraising efforts and with the support of citizens, civic clubs, and business and industry.
“Coweta County is a most supportive community,” said Nelda Boren of the local Ferst Foundation. “Reading to and interactive conversation with children beginning at birth sets the stage for lifelong learning.”
For more information on the Ferst Foundation, visit www.ferstfoundation.org .