On Saturday March 25, War Hill Park in Dawson County was full of dozens of people from across the county all rallying for a common purpose: to jump into Lake Lanier and raise money in support of childhood literacy.
The annual “Leap for Literacy” event is a fundraiser for Dawson County Wee Books, a nonprofit dedicated to improving literacy in the county. Children enrolled in the Wee Books program receive a free, age-appropriate book each month from birth to age five.
According to Wee Books Chair and President Karmen Pharris, the nonprofit has been in operation since 2007 and has served about 4,700 children in Dawson County by sending out over 127,000 books to children in the community during that time. The nonprofit is funded through donations and fundraisers like the Leap for Literacy.
This year’s event raised a total of $4094 for Dawson County Wee Books, Pharris said.
“The turnout was great and I think everybody had a really great time,” Pharris said. “And there were some really great costumes — people really got into it this year.”
During the Leap for Literacy event, individuals and groups hailing from all over the county volunteer to participate as “toe tappers” by dipping their toes into the lake, “ramp runners” by running down the boat ramp to get their legs wet or as “leapers” by jumping off the dock into the lake. Sponsors for each individual or team volunteered to contribute financially to Wee Books on their participant’s behalf.
Three “guest judges”, consisting of Dawson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Billy Thurmond, Dawson County Tax Commissioner Nicole Stewart and Dawson County Public Library Manager Stacey Leonhardt, judged all of the participants on their performance and costumes, and the winners were awarded with plaques.
This year’s winners were:
Best Individual Leaper: The Rotary Club of Dawson County
Most Creative Leaper: Riverview Elementary School
Best Leaping Team: Robinson Elementary School
Most Creative Leaping Team: Blacks Mill Elementary School
Best Toe Tapping Team: The Red Hats
Most Creative Toe Tappers: Char’s Day Care
Most Spirited Elementary School: Kilough Elementary School
For more information about Dawson County Wee Books including how to volunteer or donate to the nonprofit, go to https://www.weebooksdawson.org/.