Catfish Memorial Ride

Ferst fundraiser helps improve childhood literacy

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Participants in the Oct. 6 Lewis Grizzard and Catfish Bike Ride event prepare to leave from the Moreland Mill. Proceeds from the ride will help provide books for young children in Coweta County. 


Every rider in the Lewis Grizzard and Catfish Memorial Bike Ride event in Moreland made it back before the rain arrived.

The annual event raises funds for early childhood literacy efforts on behalf of the Ferst Foundation.

“Every rider was back before the first drop of rain,” said volunteer Doug Cantrell, whose wife serves on the local Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy board. “There were lots of prayers about the weather and God heard us and timed it perfectly,” he said.

The local Ferst group held the 2013 edition of its fundraising bicycle ride in Moreland on Oct. 6. It began at the historic Moreland Mill and continued through the rural scenery of Coweta County.

Dr. Steve Barker, Coweta County School System superintendent, was there to kick off the ride, while members of the Interact Club from Newnan High volunteered as well.

The mission of the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy is to provide age-appropriate books to children from birth to 5 years old. The foundation reaches out to low-income families, making books available to them as well as guides to give children the maximum amount of learning from each book.

For each donation of $28, a child will be given a book to arrive in the mail daily for one year.

“Our goal is to have each child come to kindergarten ready to learn,” said representative for the foundation Janie Lore. “It is workforce development in its simplest form.”

Businesses considering a community will look at the success of the school system before coming to that area, Lore said. The foundation finds it paramount to stress education early and often.

“Most of our board members are educators,” Lore said. “We feel that Coweta Ferst Foundation helps bring students to school ready to learn with less remediation.”

Despite the serious intentions behind the fundraiser, the ride is viewed as a way to have fun and explore parts of Coweta County.

The bike ride is named for the late newspaper columnist and author Lewis Grizzard and Catfish, his beloved dog.

It “is a great way to showcase our beautiful county — especially the rural areas — and it helps promote a healthy lifestyle, family time, exercise and learning,” said Lore.

“I am a supporter of lifelong learning, and through this program parents are encouraged to begin reading to their children at birth. This love of reading can then continue for the remainder of the child's life,” she said.

For more information about the group and how to help, contact Nelda Boren at nboren59@att.net or Linda Brass at lbrass@wspackaging.com.



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