Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012
By NICHOLE GOLDEN
Students at Arnco-Sargent Elementary, Madras Middle and East Coweta high schools were the top fundraisers during the 2012 coin drive of the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.
Schools competed with each other for $100 cash awards from UnitedBank of Newnan, which also counted the coins at the end of the drive. Creative events such as penny wars, dances, and bake sales were held, and donation jars were placed at the most popular spot at East Coweta...the slushie machine.
“The Ferst Team appreciates the cooperation, hard work and creative ideas of the staff, teachers, and parents in the school system,” said Nelda Boren, Ferst volunteer. “Hopefully, all children entering school will be prepared with a love of reading which will continue for a lifetime.”
This is the sixth year that the Coweta County School System has held a coin drive for Ferst. This year, schools raised $14,424, topping last year’s amount of $12,791. At the cost of $2.33 per book, the 2012 amount raised will enable Ferst to mail 6,190 books to preschool-aged children in Coweta.
Arnco-Sargent students collected $1,290, Madras students raised $2,251 and East Coweta collected $2,016. Representatives of the winning schools accepted the awards from Harold McCoy of UnitedBank. McCoy said this is just one way the bank takes part in community events. “We look forward to it next year,” he said.
Future Educators Association (FEA) chapters at school campuses were also key in the success of this year’s drive. “The coin drive was already alive, well and strong in our schools,” said Susan Mullins, director of the teacher pipeline/work-based learning program at CEC. “We just gave the coin drive a bit of extra emphasis and a lot more manpower. We challenged the FEA advisors at the middle and high school levels to find some ways to get involved. They have done a phenomenal job adding to the good effort that was already present.”
FEA Chapters sold candy items, T-shirts, and conducted mass email campaigns to add to the drive.
“The biggest impact that I see from FEA involvement is that more young people are beginning to hear and understand the importance of age-appropriate books for young children,” added Mullins.
According to Boren, the foundation’s goal is to be proactive in addressing literacy. This is accomplished through the monthly mailing of books to enrolled children. The cost per child per year of mailings is $28. There are now more than $1,000 children being served in Coweta. Members of Coweta’s Ferst team are all volunteers with funds for books raised solely through community and individual donations.