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A leap for learning
Fundraiser supports childhood literacy
3 Leap for Literacy pic1

The winners

Best leap

Team - Etowah Water and Sewer Authority
Individual - Jeff Mohler

Most creative costume, leapers

Team - Dawson County High School
Individual - Dave Cockroff

Funniest performance

Team - Dawson County Woman's Club
Individual - Gordon Brand

Tappers or ramp runners

Most creative costume - Donna Weaver
Best Performance - Dawson County Red Hatters

The water in Lake Lanier was a brisk, or as some folks said "freezing," 49 degrees Saturday morning for the second annual WEE Books Leap for Literacy.

"No, no, I can't," said Pepper Pettit as he rolled up his pants legs and tiptoed into the lake at War Hill Park. "I can't believe I'm doing this ... is there a psychiatrist here?"

There were no doctors on site, but there were dozens of supporters ready to take a polar bear-style plunge for preschool literacy in Dawson County.

The leap was a first for Bonnie Lord, who stood shivering and huddled up with her team after their jump.

"Oh yeah, this is off my bucket list," she said.

The event raised an estimated $3,500 that will be used to provide about 100 local preschool children with books.

"We want to thank everybody for coming out and sponsoring us today," said Bob Inman, a WEE Books Community Action Team member.

"It's a real credit to our community to see the turnout we had."

Students, teachers and staff from Robinson Elementary School contributed nearly $900 to the total. They were recognized for the donation after four faculty members jumped into Lanier.

Team and individual awards were given for best leap, most creative costumes and funniest performance, among others.

Dressed as the popular children's book character Little Red Riding Hood, Robinson Assistant Principal Kim Bennett said WEE Books plays a vital role in preparing children for school.

"We believe in literacy and we believe in getting books in those children's hands before they come into our school system, so we are so thankful for the work they do," she said.

The organization serves about 700 local children, who receive a free, age-appropriate book each month until their fifth birthday.

"We currently service over 50 percent of the children under 5 in Dawson County," said team member Jane Graves. "That's about 8,000 books a year that we are fundraising for and trying to find more preschoolers to sign up."

The group's goal is to reach 80 percent of local preschoolers. Team member Lionel Graves said the spirit of supporters will help them reach it.

"Today for our second event, we probably had double the number of people we had for our first event last year, thanks to the enthusiasm that was raised by the leapers last year," he said.