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Ferst Foundation outlook in McDuffie brightens

The Ferst Foundation is alive and well in McDuffie County. After reporting at a committee meeting last month that the foundation was in dire need of funds, a much brighter outlook was given at the meeting on Monday evening.

Beverly Dunn, the workforce investment coordinator for Partners For Success, which coordinates the program locally, reported to the committee that she was able to get enough money to keep the Ferst Foundation running through the end of the year, plus allow them to register more children in the program and begin a fundraising campaign.

"This is really good news," said Pat Farner, the chairwoman of the Community Action Team for the local program. "It gives us breathing room."

The Ferst Foundation, which started in McDuffie County last September, provides age appropriate books monthly to children under the age of five across the state of Georgia.

There are almost 700 children currently receiving books in McDuffie County, according to Ms. Dunn, and 50 who had been on a waiting list are now being added into the program thanks to recent donations from local citizens and civic clubs.

Members of the CAT are Ms. Dunn and Ms. Farner, Donna Branch, Anita Davis, Barney Greene, Barbara Guidry, Laura Hughes, Dot Knox, Gloria Parker, Karina Shelton and Jason Smith.

The committee discussed plans to keep the funds coming, and included a capital letter campaign, a visit to local churches, seeking volunteers, an automatic donation program through the school system, a radio program about the foundation and otherevents.

Ferst Founder and Chairwoman Robin Ferst Howser said she began the program in Madison County in 1999 as an expansion of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program to combat illiteracy.

Through the foundation, children receive a book each month up until their fifth birthday.

Ms. Dunn said it costs $37 per year to send books to one child. To make a donation or sponsor a child, call Ms. Dunn at 706-595-3112 or 706-595-7160. Donations may be brought to Ms. Dunn at the Partners For Success office on White Oak Road across the street from the high school, or mailed to Partners For Success at P. O. Box 68, Thomson, Ga. 30824.

Web posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008

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