Kids Ferst Celebrates 15 Years!

By on April 7, 2022

April 2007, Kids Ferst was born in Gilmer County becoming a chapter of Ferst Readers (formerly known as Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy ) headquartered in Madison, Georgia. Kids Ferst is a Community Action Team (CAT) dedicated to improving literacy by providing age-appropriate free books once-a-month to every child under the age of 5 in Gilmer County. Giving a child the gift of reading allows them to enter school with reading readiness skills that prepare them for school success!

Did you know that nearly two thirds of low-income families in Georgia don’t have a single book in their home suitable for a child, and over a third of all children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning? Sadly, children who are not reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of school!!

From 1 to 930 in 15 years! Thanks to the initiation of Judy Harvey and Beth Gentile, Kids Ferst registered their first child in Gilmer County 15 years ago. Kids Ferst now provides approximately 930 preschool age children with free books each month. In just 15 years, over 182,000 free quality books have been delivered to preschool-age children in Gilmer County.

During the last 15 years, Kids Ferst dedicated volunteers have engaged in multiple fundraisers to facilitate continued funding for this program. Volunteers constantly seek venues to register kids including booths at festivals, city parks, food banks and anywhere parents (or grandparents) can be found. Kids Ferst also looks for opportunities to speak at meetings of local organizations. 

The Kids Ferst motto is Read to Lead – Lead to Succeed! Kids Ferst members love to read to help children succeed! They might be spotted reading to children in the school setting, in city parks, at the food bank and just about anywhere kids can be found. 

Like the proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child.” There are a variety of ways you can become part of the village. A donation of just $36 provides a book-a-month to a child for an entire year! Or join the 10×360 program where just $10/month donated by 360 people covers the cost of the books each month. When you donate to Kids Ferst, your generosity helps children and their families see opportunities, not obstacles.

Thinking about joining Kids Ferst? Meetings are held monthly on the third Friday at 10:00am at the Gilmer County Library. Questions? Please send a message on the Facebook page Donations can be sent to: “Kids Ferst in Gilmer County”, PO Box 105, Ellijay, GA 30540. Kids Ferst is a 501c3 making all contributions deductible. Be a part of the celebration!


Gilmer County Kids Ferst

PO Box 105, Ellijay, GA 30540

(706) 847-0869


Imagine the possibilities if every child in our community enters kindergarten having been read to regularly.