Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy (FFCL) is a public 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with the mission to “provide books for local communities to prepare preschool children for reading and learning success.” FFCL strives to improve early learning opportunities for every child regardless of income, race, religion or gender with the philosophy that any child who cannot read is at-risk.
FFCL was founded in 1999 to address the growing problem of children from low-income communities entering kindergarten without basic early literacy skills and school readiness, a preventable problem that has far-reaching impacts throughout students’ lives. The recipe for early school success is simple: start school with strong literacy skills. FFCL’s recipe for encouraging early literacy development is even simpler. Ensure that children have developmentally-appropriate books in their home and provide parents with supportive material that reinforces the importance of early learning and encourages them to read frequently with their children.
Children registered for the Ferst Foundation literacy program receive an age-appropriate book mailed to them at home every month until their fifth birthday. By mailing a new book every month along with supplemental material to foster a language-rich environment in the home, FFCL upholds its commitment to provide early learning opportunities with the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Our vision is to afford the best chance to every child to succeed in school, and in life, and to help develop an educated, productive and competitive work force.
The Rotary Club of Blue Ridge first learned of The Ferst Foundation For Childhood Literacy while attending a Rotary Conference in early 2007. Members of the club’s Board of Directors explored the possibility of bringing the program to Fannin County. The commitment included the formation of a Community Action Team that would focus on funding for the program, public relations, and the registration of children. The endorsement and support of many community and business leaders, as well as individuals allowed for the program to launch and quickly grow in size. The Rotary Club of Blue Ridge designated this dynamic literacy program as their signature local community involvement program. Today nearly 400 children receive one age appropriate book per month delivered to their homes with no cost to their families. Preparing a child for success in school begins with the introduction of books and reading during early childhood development. The Rotary Club of Blue Ridge is proud to lead this effort in Fannin County.