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Ferst Readers Board of Directors Announces New President Davida Morgan Washington

June 1, 2020

MADISON, GEORGIA – Ferst Readers Board of Directors today announced that nonprofit veteran Davida Morgan Washington has been named President of the organization effective June 1, 2020. She succeeds Interim President Elyse Klova (Chief Operating Officer for Blaze Leadership) who also led Ferst Readers’ executive search.  

As the Ferst Readers’ new president, Washington will lead the organization through a particularly challenging time for children across the country who have not been in childcare centers or classrooms for months and face uncertainty for the fall.

“During a time when families are together at home and caregivers are hungry for resources and guidance, we have an opportunity for Ferst to make a particularly strong impact,” said Board Chair Errika Moore, “For about 20 years, we’ve been in close partnership with the Georgia early education community and have given children more than six million quality, age-appropriate children’s books. We’re ready to do more and are excited to see how we continue to evolve under Davida’s leadership.”

That evolution begins with mobilizing Ferst Readers’ multi-state network of community volunteers, staff, and partners and guiding the organization through its next strategic planning process. Ferst Readers strengthens communities by providing quality books and literacy resources for children and their families to use at home during the earliest stages of development. With many early childcare centers and libraries shuttered throughout the State of Georgia and beyond, these resources are more important than ever.

“It’s a privilege to be selected to lead this organization strategically and collaboratively,” said Washington. “I find it motivating that the work we do each day assures that children enter school on their first day prepared and confident in their ability to learn.”

For almost 10 years Washington has helmed fundraising operations for some of Georgia’s most recognized nonprofits, including the American Heart Association, the national office of the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Communities In Schools of Georgia and, most recently, the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta where she served as Regional Director of Development and Planned Giving. She also led HealthSTAT, a health advocacy organization in collaboration with Emory University, Morehouse College School of Medicine, Mercer School of Medicine and the Georgia State Legislature. As Executive Director, she guided HealthSTAT in strategic planning, budget management, advocacy/education and development. She began her career as an administrator and instructor for her alma mater, Shorter University.

Davida Morgan Washington received her undergraduate degree in public relations and business administration from Shorter University and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree in nonprofit management from the University of Jacksonville. She is a 2012-2013 Fellow of Georgia Women’s Policy Leadership Institute.

“The Search Committee was looking for a president who would build on our established relationships and success and help the organization grow. We are confident Davida’s previous professional experience, her ideas on how to take Ferst to the next level, and her positive energy make her the ideal president,” said Board Member and Search Committee Chair Lauri Strauss.

Washington’s appointment culminates a six-month national search that netted more than 300 potential candidates. The Ferst Readers Board of Directors search committee worked with Blaze, a change management and leadership development firm based in Atlanta.


Could you use some extra food in your home each month?

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. CARES Act provides 4 (four) programs: Payment Protection Program (PPP) Loans, Small Business Debt Relief Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans & Emergency Economic Injury Grants, and Counseling & Training. The Treasury Department is taking action and supporting American workers and businesses who are impacted by the coronavirus. Learn more at https://home.treasury.gov/cares


Census Day: Encourage Families to Fill Out the Census By April 1

Encourage families to respond to the 2020 Census by April 1 by completing the questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. The 2020 Census is a count of every person living in the United States as of April 1, 2020. The questionnaire from the U.S. Census Bureau asks a few simple questions, like the age, sex, and marital status of the people who live in your home, including newborns and non-relatives.

Explain that responding to the 2020 census is an easy, safe, and important way to help provide critical resources for children, families, and their communities for the next 10 years. Remind parents and families that federal spending programs rely on information derived from the 2020 Census to guide the distribution of funds to states, counties, cities, and households. Those funds include services communities receive, including those that benefit children, such as Head Start, special education, and after-school programs, school lunch assistance, children’s health insurance, child care, and housing support.

Some families might notice census takers in their neighborhood. Let them know that this is a normal part of conducting the census; if they haven’t yet responded to the census, then census takers conduct in-person visits to ensure families are counted. Census takers are legally bound to protect any personal information collected and keep it strictly confidential. To learn more about what to expect, visit https://www.2020census.gov


School-Based Health Center Parent Survey

The Hancock County School District and Community Health Care System are thinking about opening a School‐Based Health Center. Children attending Hancock County School District to be served would be eligible to receive services at the School‐Based Health Center. Services might include immunizations, physical exams, care of minor illnesses (earaches, sore throats, cuts and bruises) and related family support services.

The cost of services would be based on a sliding‐fee scale, and no one would be refused service because of inability to pay. To help us plan for the School‐Based Health Center, we would like to ask a few questions about the health needs of your child. This information will help us decide what types of services and programs to offer at the Center. Your answers are completely confidential. You do not need to put your name anywhere on this form. Thank you for your help.

Parent – https://www.research.net/r/schoolhealthcenter-parent 

Student – https://www.research.net/r/schoolhealthcenter-student


Family Connection- Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc.  awarded a $10,000 grant for a possible School Based Health Clinic

In November 2019 Family Connection Communities In Schools of Hancock County was award by Emory University, by and through its School of Medicine, on the behalf of its Department of Pediatrics and its PARTNER for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health Program a $10,000.00 grant for the purpose of exploring the development of a school-based health center in Hancock County.

Hancock County Board of Education and Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc. are discussing the possibility of opening a School-Based Health Center to provide physical, dental and mental health services for students in the Hancock County School District.

Why School-Based Health Centers in Hancock County?

 Access to Health Care for All Children:  School-based health centers provide health care to all children who have parental permission, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay (often at no cost or low cost).

Regular Preventive Care: When health care is far away, expensive, or difficult to access, children are less likely to receive regular preventive care. School-based health centers offer care where the children are — in schools.

Keeping Children in School: School-based health centers help keep children in school and ready to learn, treating acute and chronic health problems immediately and returning students to class as soon as possible.

Strong Parent and School Support:  When parents give permission for their child to be seen at a school-based health center, they know they will not have to miss work to care for minor problems, and that their child will receive prompt attention from health providers trained at working with youth.



Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County receives an Award at the Fall Conference on October 3-4th for over 10 years of services. Regina Butts Executive Director also recognized Mr. Tatnall Butts the previous Executive Director for his many years of services provided to students and families of this community.

Pictured:  Ms.Regina Butts of Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc. with Communities In Schools of Georgia President Ms. Carol Lewis. 


“Beyond 2020 :Get Georgia Reading Summit”

Two-thirds of Georgia’s third-graders are not reading on grade level, bringing long-term negative consequences to these children, their families, their communities, and our state. Unwilling to yield any longer to the unspeakable rate of illiteracy in Georgia, hundreds of public and private leaders from across the state and across sectors have come together to take on third-grade reading as an urgent priority for all who care about children’s health and well-being. Together, we developed a four-pillar framework outlining the conditions necessary for every child in Georgia to become a proficient reader by the end of third grade, paving the way to improved outcomes throughout school and life.

On September 26-27, 2019, Hancock County Get Georgia Reading Team participated in a two “Beyond 2020 :Get Georgia Reading Summit” at the Stone Mountain Resort at Stone Mountain, Ga. Hancock County has been a Get Georgia Reading Community since June 2016.  Since this time Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc. and their partners has made great strives to provide reading support to make sure our third grade students are reading proficiently on third grade level.

Ms. Regina Butts of  Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County was presented and award from the National Office of Campaign for Grade Level Reading. Ms. Butts was presented  the “Big Spot Light” award for the work performed her community with partners. Attending the conference was Regina Jackson of HealthMPower, Annie Ingram-Hancock County Board of Education, Chair and Chambree Harris, HHIP Coordinator, Akia Lewis, Georgia Family Connection Partnership and Ron Faircloth from National Grade Level Reading.


Back to School Supply Drive – Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 9AM to Noon


National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 27, 2019.


M. E. LEWIS, SR. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRESENTS ITS 1ST PUBLISHING PARTY


County Wide -Read Across America Spirit Week Essay Contest – All Entries are Due February 20, 2019 at 12 noon


Christmas Assistance 2018 – Applications accepted through November 30, 2018


Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Assistance with primary heating source


BOOK DRIVE! Drop off any new or gently used books. November 1-17, 2018.  There will be labeled bins at varies churches, schools, food bank and business throughout the community and the local public library.


FREE Eye Exams! October 30, 2018 10am-2pm. Oconee Fall Line Technical College. You MUST schedule an appointment by calling LaKisha Kenney at 770.738.4677.


Ms. Trelaine Neville joined the Hancock County Early Childhood Strategy team in 2017 as team member to represent Care Source.


Family Connection – Communities in Schools of Hancock County, Inc. Receives Summer Literacy Initiatives Mini-Grant Awards


Read for a Bike. K-5 you can WIN a bike!


Washington Electric Foundation donates in the amount of $1,663 for two sets of recess equipment.


Kick Off Read Across Georgia Month During Get Georgia Reading Day at the Capitol on March 5


Hancock County Students and Teachers Rev Up for NEA’s Read Across America Day


Seven Georgia Family Connection Collaboratives Awarded Early Language and Literacy Mini-Grants


Georgia Students Learn the Importance of Education Through “The Choice Bus”


Hancock Schools, Georgia Family Connection Partnership Seek Sponsors for Food, Toiletry Packs for Teens In Need.


Hancock County read, read to succeed, has made it to the Get Georgia Read Campaign.


Back to School Supply Giveaway
Thank you for Helping!
August 7, 2017


2017 WIC Farmer’s Market
FREE! First come, first serve
June 29, 2017 at 8:30 am – 12:30 pm


Tech on Tuesday at OFTC
Are you ready for a great career?
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
10:00am and 6:00pm


Calling all Artists!
FREE Workshop
Saturday, January 28, 2017
10:30am – 12:30pm
Hancock County Library


On Thursday, January 16th Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc. Executive Director Awarded three programs who are strong supporters of  students birth to age (8) eight in the area of literacy and health.


Join us at Sparta Challenge…Pushing for Change 5K Run/Walk & Fun Run/Walk on November 26, 2016!  We are asking for donations of new and/or gently used adults and children’s coats and donations for Helping Hands with providing non-perishable food items during the Sparta Challenge…Pushing for Change.


SPARTA\HANCOCK COUNTY COMMUNITY GROUPS & AMERI-GROUP OF GEORGIA ARE SPONSORING – “A WINTER WARM-UP” COATS! HATS!  & MITTENS! DRIVE
ENJOY THE COCOA BAR STATION- FREE HOT CHOCOLATE FOR EVERYONE


On Thursday, June 16th Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc hosted the region area CISGA Executive Director Round table discussion. Communities In Schools of Georgia is nation’s largest and most effective organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life.


Family Connection- Communities In Schools of Hancock County Partners with Summer Camps — Family Connection-Communities in Schools of Hancock County, Inc.  has been “Moovin and Groovin” at the Sparta and Mayfield camp site during the week of June 6-9th.


Ferst Foundation Childhood Literacy E-Newsletter for February


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FCCISH Board: Allen Haywood, Aketi Mayweather, School Board Chair- Annie Ingram, Head Start/Early Head Start/Pre-K Director – Dr. Angela Primus and Regina Butts, Executive Director for Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc.

The Family Connection-Communities In Schools of Hancock County, Inc. and partners for Get Georgia Reading/Hancock Early Childhood Health and Education Co-hort  presented Hancock County Head Start/Early Head Start and Pre-K with a check for $600.00 to support early literacy at their site.

Funds from the co-hort will be used to introduce technology, and set up a media center at the M.E. Lewis Elementary School for the Head Start/Pre-K Students.

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