About Us

About Us

Our Mission: Our mission is to strengthen Henry County by providing children and their families with quality books and useful literacy resources at home during the earliest stages of development.

Our Vision: Our Vision is to create better learners, brighter futures, and stronger communities by giving every child under five access to quality books in their homes.

Our StrategyThe parent of every child born at Piedmont Henry Hospital (Henry County residents) is given the opportunity to register their newborn with Ferst Readers.  Every registered child receives one quality, age-appropriate book each month from birth to the age of 5.  That is a home library of 60 books!

Our Parent Organization:

Ferst Readers (formally the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy) 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.” Ferst Readers 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.

Find out more at www.ferstreaders.org 

We are the local affiliate of Ferst Readers.   All funds collected from our efforts go directly to providing books for children living in Henry County.

 


Our Challenge:  Our goal is to register every single preschool child in Henry County!  Funding is our only barrier.   The books we send are free to the child—but they are not free.  It costs us $36 to purchase and mail one book each month for one year.  We currently have almost 2000 children on our registration list.

Our Partners:  Ferst Readers of Henry County is supported by many generous partners including:   

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Heritage Bank, Piedmont Henry Hospital, Henry County Schools, Heritage Community Foundation, Taylor Family Foundation, Henry County Library System, Henry County Retired Educators Association, Henry Heritage Reading Council, Speedway Children’s Charities, Snapping Shoals EMC, Story on the Square, Walmart Foundation, Constellation Community Champions, Griffin Insurance, Servpro of Henry & Spalding Counties

 

Our Team

Ferst Readers of Henry County is a 100% volunteer-driven organization.  The Community Action Team (CATeam) is made up of local business leaders, retired educators, and civic-minded community volunteers.

 

Members of our team include:  Anita Beasley, Susan Bowlin, Kay Bobo, Patti Brown, Liz Colson, Kim Devine, Elli Fagundez, Carolyn Fuller, Stephanie Gordon, Doris Griffin, Mike Griffin, Carol Hilburn, Lynn Hudgins, Courtney Jones, Robin Jones, Maryanne Layton, Dody Morris, Teri Myers, Marjorie Petcovic, Martha Robbins, Angie Simpson, Ansley Sturgill, Kristy Vigil, Deb Watkins, Marilyn Werner, Robin Wilson, Tracina Wyatt

Doris Griffin

Chair

Doris Griffin has served on the Community Action Team (CAT) for Ferst Readers of Henry County (formerly Ferst Foundation of Henry County) since the local chapter began in 2005. She was chair of the Ferst Spring Luncheon from 2008-2018, coordinated Henry Has Talent! from 2009-2012, and has been a Ferst mentor for the cooperative fundraising effort between Ferst and Henry County Schools. Doris has a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Doris believes that her greatest work has been raising two sons and volunteering and tutoring in their schools throughout their tenure in Henry County Schools, and serving in her church. She assumed the role of Chair of Ferst Readers of Henry County in May 2018.

Patti Brown

Immediate Past Chair

Patti Brown served as the immediate past-Chair of Ferst Readers from 2012 to 2018. Helping to see that children and families in the community are better prepared for school has motivated Patti to volunteer with Ferst. She also owns and operates three SERVPRO franchises in Metro Atlanta, including SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Co., SERVPRO of Decatur, and SERVPRO of Clayton Co. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, and as Chair of the Professional Development Committee for Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Patti also is a certified instructor in the State of Georgia for the insurance and real estate industry.

Robin Jones

Newborn Registration Coordinator

Robin Jones has served as the Program Coordinator for Prevent Child Abuse Henry County since 1997. The First Steps Program that Robin coordinates works with families of newborns at Piedmont Henry Hospital offering support, parenting information, and referrals to community resources. First Steps also registers newborns for the Ferst Readers childhood literacy program. Robin is also an authorized facilitator for the Darkness to Light “Stewards of Children” child sexual abuse prevention training. She serves on the Henry County Child Fatality Review Committee and the Henry County Multidisciplinary Task Force. She has been married to her wonderful husband for 26 years and has two beautiful daughters.

Mike Griffin

Founder & Past Chair

Mike Griffin helped bring the Ferst Foundation to Henry County in 2005. As a local businessman, Mike has always supported educational efforts in the county. In fact, his work with Ferst spurred him to run for and serve on the Henry County Board of Education. Mike continues to support Ferst Readers because
he understands the long-term impact that improving reading readiness has on a child’s performance in school and in life.

Carol Hilburn

Registration Database Coordinator

Carol Hilburn has been a Community Action Team member with Ferst Readers of Henry County for many years. Throughout that time, she has entered all registering infants and children into the chapter database in order that books will get into the hands of children. Carol frequently contacts parents in order to ensure that Ferst has the correct information. She enjoys this interaction, especially hearing the excitement in the voice of a new mother.
Carol is a retired educator, having taught elementary school for 28 years. She understands that exposure to books at an early age makes school a fun and exciting place for children, rather than an unpleasant challenge. Carol has witnessed that children who have had books in their hands from birth know how to turn pages, recognize words, and read pictures.
It pleases Carol greatly that her grandchildren were read to every night from birth until they were able to read for themselves. Her two eldest grandsons continue to read daily for pleasure. Carol’s younger grandchildren were recipients of books from Ferst Readers of Henry County. She recalls that they were always excited when they received their Ferst books in the mail, and they opened their books and immediately began looking through them. Her older grandsons were quick to join them and the new books were read immediately.

Deb Watkins

Grant Writer

Deb Watkins enjoyed a 40-year career selling wallcovering and fabrics to interior designers in Georgia and Florida. In retirement, one of her goals was to give back to the community, and through her McDonough book club, she met Doris Griffin, the current chair of Ferst Readers. At her first Community Action Team meeting, she met many other committed high caliber people involved in Ferst, and knew this was where she would offer her skills. She finds it heartwarming to know that she is helping Henry County’s preschool children to “a brighter future paved with books.”

Marilyn Werner

Volunteer

Marilyn Werner is a retired educator who taught school for 31 years. Since retirement in 1999, Marilyn has served in a volunteer capacity as a member of the Henry County Retired Educators Association and the Georgia Retired Educators Association (GREA). Marilyn and her beloved husband, Harry Werner, joined the Community Action Team for Ferst Readers of Henry County in its early days. In 2015, Marilyn and Harry Werner were awarded the Harry Werner Distinguished Volunteer Award by Ferst Readers. This was a posthumous award for Harry. In 2017, Marilyn received the A Friend of GREA Award for her monthly volunteer service at the state office.

The new Ferst Readers of Henry County website is made possible by Marilyn’s generous donation in Harry Werner’s memory.

Kristy Vigil

Henry Hundred Coordinator

Kristy Vigil began volunteering with Ferst Readers in 2016. Ferst was a perfect organization for her to help share her love of books and reading with children in Henry County. As a mother of three young daughters, she has been nurturing the love of a good book since their birth.
In addition to being a member of the Community Action Team, Kristy coordinates Henry Hundred, a group of Henry County citizens who commit to an annual donation of $100 to Ferst. This group of the Ferst Readers of Henry County, focuses on raising awareness and multi-year donations from individuals in the community. Kristy loves reaching out to those who have not heard of Ferst, and sharing how easy it is to make a positive, direct impact on the community through their donations.

Elli Fagundez

Marketing & Design Coordinator

Elli Fagundez has been a volunteer with Ferst Readers of Henry County since 2014. She has a B.A. in Accounting from Kennesaw State University, with a minor in French and Francophone Studies. Elli serves as a Spanish medical interpreter and works full-time in the Marketing Department at SERVPRO. Hiking, traveling, and playing with her four fur babies are some of her hobbies. Elli’s favorite books are Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Stephanie Gordon, M.D.

School Fundraiser Chair & Henry Hundred Co-Chair

Dr. Stephanie Gordon is an Atlanta native. She attended Georgia Tech, Mercer University School of Medicine, and Washington University for residency. She is a Board Certified Urogynecologist practicing in Stockbridge and Conyers, Georgia. She is a wife to David, and mother to three daughters. She owns an independent bookstore called Story on the Square on the historic square in McDonough, Ga. She is a life-long lover of reading and is so happy to be a volunteer for Ferst Readers of Henry County, coordinating the school fundraiser and co-chairing the Henry Hundred Club.

A child’s path to a brighter future is paved with books.

35

VOLUNTEERS

6549

CHILDREN REACHED SINCE 2005

67698

FUNDS RAISED IN 2017

164106

BOOKS MAILED SINCE 2005

One child for $36 per year

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One child for $108 per 3 years

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One child for $72 per 2 years

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One child for $144 per 4 years

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Reading readiness has a profound long-term impact on a child’s performance in school and in life.  Help us help the children in our community.  Your generous donation will help ensure that more children succeed.  Remember, a child’s path to a brighter future is paved with books.