Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy
Inspired by the success of the Dollywood Foundation program, and in support of this proactive approach to help children achieve success in education and in life, Robin Ferst formed the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy in 1999. Originating in Morgan County, Georgia the goal was established to send the books from Dolly’s Imagination Library to every child in Georgia by 2010.
The Foundation strives to improve early childhood learning for every child regardless of income, race, religion, or gender as any child who cannot read is at-risk.
Children registered for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy program receive a book at his/her home every month via U.S. mail until their fifth birthday. If they are registered as soon as they are born, each child will receive up to 60 free books for his/her own personal library!
An expert committee composed of individuals from education, child development, academia and early childhood literacy has carefully selected the books chosen for this home library.
The children’s classic, The Little Engine That Could, is the first book each child receives and Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! is the final “graduation” book that is received when the child turns 5.
As the program focus grew to include parent assistance and additional literacy support items, the Foundation grew into its new name: Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy. We continue to send the books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in conjunction with enhancements from our second literacy support initiative, Leap Into Books.
Now, in addition to the personal library, each child enrolled in the Ferst Foundation program also receives a “Ferst” library card, tips for the parents on how to read aloud with their child and a coupon for a distinctive, adjustable bookcase (with locomotive and caboose bookends) which is specially designed to become a family heirloom. The newest addition to the Program will include a monthly communication piece, which will provide a book guide, child activity page, and opportunities for local community literacy announcements and sponsor acknowledgment.