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'Bowling for Books'

Childhood literacy group hosts fundraiser Sunday

'Bowling for Books'

'Bowling for Books'

A local nonprofit organization promoting early childhood literacy will host a fundraising event this weekend at The Clubhouse in Statesboro.

Bulloch County’s Ferst Foundation, which works to provide free books for children, is sponsoring the “Ferst Annual Bowling for Books and Bragging Rights” bowling tournament at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Teams of four will compete in three games for pride and rights to “a fabulous trophy,” according to Michelle Reidel, of the local Ferst Foundation Community Action Team.

Every dollar raised through the event will support the work of the Ferst Foundation, which aims to provide free books, along with reading guides and activity pages, every month to children younger than 5 years old.

“We hope that this is going to become our annual fall fundraising event. We’re expecting a pretty good crowd,” Reidel said. “I think we’ll have a lot of fun and hopefully build momentum for next year; and collect more funds to support the program and register more children. We have raised about $2,500 so far, and are very excited about that.”

Bulloch County’s Ferst Foundation is one of more than 60 chapters throughout Georgia that supplies free, age-appropriate reading materials to children who might otherwise have none.

The chapter was founded earlier this year with the support of several local civic organizations.

“A lot of children that come from lower income homes do not have access to age appropriate reading materials, and are behind when they begin school,” Reidel said. “The focus of the Ferst Foundation is to get books into the hands of kids who normally would not have access to them, at no cost to the child’s parents or guardians.”

Children receive books monthly, from the time they are registered through their fifth birthday. If registered at birth, a child can receive up to 60 free books.

Reidel said Sunday’s event will allow the organization to continue its efforts into the future, and register many new members.

“We have little more that 200 kids in Bulloch County registered right now, and there are nearly 4,000 children under the age of 5 in the county. So, we have a long way to go,” she said.

According to Dr. Austin Whitlock, a local pediatrician and Community Action Team member, one-third of children who enter school aren’t as prepared for reading and language as they should be.

“These programs are very effective; they are programs that have demonstrated success. We are really optimistic that this will be something that will have positive and tangible effect on literacy rates, school preparedness and graduation rates in our community,” he said.

The team registration fee for groups interested in participating in Sunday’s tournament is $160. Individuals or businesses may also contribute by donating, or purchasing advertisements that will be displayed during the event.

For more information about the tournament, how to register, or about the Bulloch County Ferst Foundation, individuals can contact Reidel at (912) 478-5806 or
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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