Literacy Initiatives

For more than 26 years, the Junior League of Douglas County has been the driving force behind the kinds of initiatives and institutions that make our community a healthier, more vital place to live. Each year, volunteers focus their support on a variety of community projects that focus on women and children. Last year alone, our trained volunteers collectively donated more than 2,000 hours of direct community service in Douglas County and donated over 800 books.

For the last two years our primary focus has been on literacy. Here are a few reasons why the Junior League of Douglas County is passionate about literacy.

  • Reading skill is the single greatest predictor of future academic success. (National Assessment of Education Progress)
  • 40% of America’s children have difficulty learning to read. (National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, 1998)
  • One for every four children grows up not learning how to read. (National Assessment of Adult Literacy).
  • People in the US who are illiterate represent 75% of the unemployed; a third of mothers receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children; 85% of juveniles who appear in court and 60% of prison inmates. (Straight Talk About Reading, 1998)
  • According to NCES2, only 53 percent of children between the ages of three and five were read to daily by a family member (1999). Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above poverty

Book Brigade

Third grade is an important time in a child’s life. A child’s reading proficiency by third grade has a direct correlation to his/her success in high school and beyond. In the third grade, children move from learning to read to reading to learn. If children don’t have good reading skills by this time, it directly impacts their ability to learn properly and succeed in school.Because of this, the Junior League of Douglas County is focusing our efforts on students about to hit that important mile stone.

Book Brigade is a placement that provides books to all second graders in the 10 neediest public schools in Douglas County. League members take the books to each of the schools and lets the students pick out a book that they can keep. For many students, this is their very first book that they have ever owned.We hope with community partners we can take the Book Brigade and bring it to all 21 elementary schools in the County.

Head Start Reading Buddies Program & Breakfast with Santa Program

Head Start is a federally funded program serving low income families. Their mission is to deliver quality comprehensive services to children and their families. Volunteer hours from community members are vital to its funding. Click to visit the Head Start Website.

Reading Buddies is a placement serving the children of the Head Start program in Douglas County. League members read to children in the program sometimes one-on-one, sometimes as a group according to the needs of each class and the preference of the League member. This placement can be flexible according to availability of the League member participating; however, it is a daytime placement. Some members choose to read 1/2 hour each week; some choose to stay for a morning once a month. Mattie McLurkin, Head Start Director, is so grateful for our participation she can make any schedule work! This placement is very rewarding – spending time investing in the life a child is priceless!

Breakfast with Santa is a placement serving the children of the Head Start program in Douglas County. League members help provide a happy Christmas Experience for the children. They are able to sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what they want for Christmas and get their picture taken with Santa. Children also receive a sweatshirt or t-shirt to take home. The last week of school before the holiday break, wrapped presents and stockings are sent home in a black plastic bag with the parents so that the children will not know that Santa didn’t bring them. Since these children are from low income families, these gifts may be their only gifts from Santa. League members take pictures, read, pass out shirts, and assist children with Santa.

Georgia Pre-K Week

The Junior League of Douglas County is a part of Georgia’s Pre-K Week each year. It is hosted by Voices for Georgia’s Children and its Pre-K Week partners. “Georgia’s Pre-K program is an exceptional program that can serve as a model for our country,” said Pat Willis, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a child advocacy organization. Approximately 84,000 four year olds in Georgia benefit from this remarkable program, a milestone in the critical phase of education that takes place from birth to age 8. About Voices for Georgia’s Children Established in 2003, Voices for Georgia’s Children is a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that envisions a Georgia where children are safe, healthy, educated, employable, and connected to their family and community. Voices for Georgia’s Children is proud to have “Pete the Cat” as the honorary mascot for Pre-K Week. “Pete the Cat” is the creation of Georgia artist James Dean who illustrated the book, Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons, written by Georgia children’s author Eric Litwin. The Junior League of Douglas County members, as well as community partners, politicians and business professionals participate in this wonderful program by visiting Douglas County Pre-K students and reading “Pete the Cat” to them.

Dr. Seuss Week

In 2015, the Junior League of Douglas County was excited to add Dr. Seuss week in partnership with Read Across America to their literacy initiatives and will continue to participate each year. Read Across America celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday to really drive home the message of the importance of reading. 45 million kids across the nation participate in this program. The Junior League of Douglas County’s volunteers go to Pre-K’s in the county and read Dr. Seuss classics as well as give out literacy fun learning worksheets, Dr. Seuss bookmarks, and Dr. Seuss pencils. Cat in the Hat makes a special appearance as well!