Dawson Countys Wee Books program is looking for teams and individuals unafraid of taking a plunge for literacy.
Entering its fourth year, Wee Books provides an age-appropriate book each month for Dawson Countys children, starting at birth through age 5 and its free of charge to the family.
The group holds an annual leap into Lake Lanier as a fundraiser to pay for the books.
This years leap will be Saturday, Feb. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at War Hill Park. This is a participatory sport, Wee Books Board Member Jane Graves said. And, there are different levels of participation.
Those levels include toe-tappers and ramp runners who simply dip in their toes or walk down the ramp into knee-high
Either way, money is raised for literacy. Last year, the group raised $4,000. The cost to Wee Books for the five-year program is $36 per child. Registered children may receive up to 60 books.
This year, we want to add at least $1,000, Graves said. So, our goal is $5,000.
This years judges are Dawson County Commission Chair Mike Berg, Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford, and the
owner of Jans Family Daycare, Jan Whetstone.
We have a sizable illiterate base that people dont see, Berg said. We have a lot of poverty here, and it shows up because folks cant read. Its always a benefit to start children reading at a young age.
One dollar spent on reading programs now like Wee Books saves the county approximately $17 later, per person, in remedial education costs, social services, and even jail costs, according to Graves.
We spend a lot of tax dollars on our schools, she said. And the more children that are prepared when they enter school, the better their education will be.
Leap Judge Jan Whetstone said the Wee Books program is critical to Dawson Countys children.
A lot of children dont have access to books, and parents arent able to take their children to the library, she said. It
touches my heart to see all those people willing to bear the freezing cold just to make sure children receive books. It just
gives you a really warm feeling. Whetstone has provided childcare services in Dawson County for 20 years.
EMS Chief Lanier Swafford said its his first year participating as a judge.
I think its the fundamental responsibility of a society to make sure our young people have the opportunity to learn to read
at home, he said.
To date, Wee Books has provided more than 150,000 books to Dawson County children.
Graves said this years event includes contests for the best team leap, solo leap, ramp-run, toe-tapper, most creative costume, most creative performance, and champion sponsor.
We do encourage costumes, performances and skits anything that will catch the judges eye, she said. This is a community event, a family event, and a very safe event.
Dawson County Emergency dive team members will be on site monitoring the event. To sign up your child for the Wee Books program, call 706-216-0173, visit the library or the Dawson News & Advertiser for a registration form, or email email@example.com.