Archive for Volunteer

ELC of North Florida Volunteers Making a Creative Impact

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Image/Caption: Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer, Erika Bauserman St. Augustine creates videos to connect with preschool children. She is standing in front of the Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Fla. #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

www.elcnorthflorida.org 

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/lighthouse_erika.jpeg

 

ELC of North Florida Volunteers Making a Creative Impact

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 14, 2020 – Since preschool and child care centers are following CDC safety recommendations, volunteers are no longer admitted in local preschools for reading time. However, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) literacy volunteers are finding creative ways to still stay in touch with the children they have been reading to all year. 

One of the creative ways volunteers are still giving back is through the use of digital communication, shared with the preschools. For instance, Volunteer Margo Locke who reads weekly at “A Fun Place to Be” in Northern St. Augustine is reading to children through Facebook videos. The teachers say it is reassuring for the children to see familiar faces like their reading volunteer and to keep to their normal routines as much as possible.  

ELC volunteer Erika Bauserman of St. Augustine, who reads at Brighton Day Academy is now making videos to share with the children. Her first video is called “Where in St. Augustine Am I?” Bauserman traveled around St. Augustine and took pictures of local landmarks giving short facts about each one. Her latest video is called “Compound Words Around Town.” She filmed items that are compound words like, butterfly, flowerpot, motorcycle and woodpecker.  

“The children love the videos and keep asking for more,” said Miss Donna, Brighton’s three and four-year old teacher.

“I miss seeing my kids so much and I want to stay in touch while at the same time teaching them something,” said Bauserman. 

Bauserman’s videos can be viewed at the ELC’s North Florida YouTube playlists page where their early education videos are featured.  https://www.youtube.com/user/ELCPSJ/playlists

It is challenging right now for child care centers and preschools to stay open (See state of child care article: https://elcnorthflorida.org/news-release-florida-governor-deems-child-care-as-an-essential-business-state-of-child-care-services-in-north-florida-during-the-coronavirus/) but it is necessary because they are serving the children of our essential workers and first responders. 

The North Florida coalition is so proud of it’s many volunteers who give of their time so freely to help our youngest citizens according to Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson.  

For more information about volunteering with the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida contact Early Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson at:  jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org. The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s website and facebook page has up-to-date resources for providers and parents in addition to their child care services, school readiness services and VPK programs. Please visit online at www.elcnorthflorida.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elcnorthflorida.

www.elcnorthflorida.org #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

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VOLUNTEER NEWSLETTER – December 2019

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WINTER 2019 VOLUNTEER NEWSLETTER

 

(This is the text version of our newsletter sent to our volunteers. Contact jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org to learn more about our volunteer program.)

From Joan’s Desk

Dear Volunteers,
Tom Brokaw said, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Every time ELC Volunteers read to children, or dress up as a character, or help with center activities, or load cars, or create make-and- take materials, or stuff bags with supplies for preschool teachers a difference is made in a child’s life.
Working with ELC volunteers is truly one of the biggest blessings of my life. I am inspired by the dedication and passion you have for reaching out to the children that this organization serves. The Outreach Program is exciting, informative, and creative because of you.
At the holiday season, my thoughts turn gratefully to you who make our programming possible. Thank you and best wishes to you and yours for a happy holiday.

Sincerely,
Joan

ELC Early Literacy Coordinator

Reading Conference

The annual Reading Conference was held at the Marywood Retreat Center in St. Johns, September 25th. Forty-five Reading Pal volunteers and sixteen preschool teachers attended. The conference featured guest speakers Sandra Dunnavant, Lisa Taylor and Susan Murphy who shared ideas and activities. Attendees were able to participate in Interactive reading stations featuring informative reading related topics.
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Sandi’s Corner

Dear Friends,
I will be retiring AGAIN in January. It’s time to read all those books that I’ve put on hold, enjoy mint juleps on the front porch, and discover ancestors that I didn’t know about.
I want to say a few words about my experience with the ELC organization and the Outreach Program.
I have loved working with the ELC staff and volunteers.
Dawn and her remarkable, dedicated, competent staff always provided me with the tools to make my job easier. Joan is one of the most enthusiastic, passionate colleagues that I have ever worked with. I enjoyed sharing ideas and performing programs with a cadre of caring volunteers.
Thank all of you for the kindness that you showed to me. I will always treasure my time with you.
Fondly,
Sandi
PS…Don’t forget to teach those children Nursery Rhymes!

 

Reading Pal Spotlight

Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor has a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Texas Woman’s University. She is an experienced public youth services librarian. Presently she is a librarian at Florida State College in Jacksonville. ELC is delighted to have Lisa volunteering at Lighthouse Prep in St. Augustine. Not only do preschoolers get the benefit of her vast experience but they also have the pleasure of listening to her play the ukulele during story time.
Lisa shared her passion for reading at the ELC Reading Conference in September.

Reading Pals Needed

Are you enjoying being a Reading Pal? ELC is looking for more Pals. We need your help. Spread the word about ELC to your friends, neighbors, associates, church buddies, and women’s club. Help us recruit. This program makes a difference in the lives of children. Please help us enlist more volunteers.

Literacy Themed Programs

Throughout the Fall the ELC outreach team put on four different themed literacy programs. The program themes are as follows: Ocean, Dinosaur, Dance and Eric Carle’s World of Colors program. The programs consist of a very interactive story time which includes drama, music, stories and sometimes activities. Each child receives a FREE book relating to the theme and the teacher receives a resource bag with books and materials related to that theme.

Reminders

Volunteer Hours

Please fill out and return the ELC volunteer hours worksheet each month. Sheets are available at all three lending library offices or they can be sent electronically.

Return to the offices or email or fax them to Joan. 904-342-2268 (fax) or jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

THE FEW MINUTES THAT IT TAKES TO FILL OUT YOUR TIMESHEETS ARE SO VERY IMPORTANT TO ELC. PLEASE FILL THEM OUT MONTHLY!

Why Time Sheets Are Valuable
According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the value of volunteer services can be disclosed in a nonprofit’s financial statements for grant proposals, annual reports and other purposes. FASB states that non-monetary information, such as the number of donated hours or services provided by volunteers, can be helpful in assessing the success and long-term viability of a nonprofit. Using this hourly figure, an organization can put a dollar value on the community support that it receives in the form of volunteer work.

Read For The Record
ELC participated in the nationwide event Read for the Record, November 7th. Each year a book is picked and a challenge is issued for all participants to read this book on the same day to as many children as possible. The goal is to break the world record. 2,643,000 children listened to Thank You Omu and broke the world record. The ELC provided a FREE copy of this year’s book and a packet of activities was given to 75 child care providers in our six counties. 5,500 children in our area listened to the book.

Coming Events
Quarterly Volunteer Holiday Party
Tuesday, December 17th 12:30 -2:00 pm St John Main Library in St. Augustine located at 1960 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Meeting includes FREE lunch, gifts and fun. Come out and meet and visit with other ELC volunteers. RSVP to Joan for St. Augustine meeting at: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

Wednesday January 15th 12:30 pm Work Day For Conference at the Clay Office
Volunteers are needed to help with organizing materials for the Conference

Saturday, January 18th 9:00-3:30 pm at the Thrasher Horne Center, Orange Park. ELC Early Educators Conference –
Volunteers are needed to help with registration that morning at 8:00 am. (If you volunteer you can stay and attend the conference for FREE.) RSVP to Joan jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

ELC Days

ELC Days at the Amazing Grace Crop Maze in Green Cove Springs were held October 9th and 16th. Each year ELC sponsors this fun field trip for preschools. Preschoolers went on a hay ride, walked through the crop maze, got up close with farm animals, jumped on the jump pad, and had an agricultural lesson. The ELC staff and volunteers provided an extra Fall craft. Each child was given a FREE copy of the book Spookley the Square Pumpkin and teachers received a bag of FALL related books for their classrooms. This year 450 children attended. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped.

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Florida’s Office of Early Learning
Early Learning Coalition of North Florida | 904-342-2267 sdunnavant@elcnorthflorida.org| https://elcnorthflorida.org
Administrative Office: 2450 Old Moultrie Road, Ste. 103, St. Augustine, FL 32086

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Flora and the Flamingo Make Their Debut in North Florida

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) volunteer Kathy Stawara of Orange Park (AKA “The Flamingo”) and ELC outreach assistant Sandi Dunnavant with children at Baker County Pre-K in Macclenney.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team debuted their new music and movement literacy program in pre-schools this past spring and summer in Clay and Baker Counties. They will expand the program to include Bradford, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns Counties in the Fall. The program, geared to 3-5 year olds, is meant to highlight the importance of music and movement as it pertains to a child’s learning and development.  

 

Books like “Rupert Can Dance” by Jules Feiffer, “Down by the Cool of the Pool” by Tony Mitten and “Flora and the Flamingo” by Molly Idle are highlighted during this program.  During the reading of Flora and the Flamingo one of the ELC volunteers dresses up as the flamingo then picks a child from the class they are visiting to join them in acting out the story. Whatever dance movement the flamingo does, Flora copies it. The children get to dance to different kinds of music and make music with bells.

 

Volunteers are the key to success for this program and the other themed programs that the ELC puts on, including: Space, Meet the Masters, Dinosaurs, Ocean Themed, Mother Goose “Rhymers are Readers” and Eric Carle’s World of Colors. Volunteers help the ELC in two main ways. The first is by being an outreach volunteer that assists in putting on programs. These volunteers read stories, sing songs, lead craft activities and maybe wear themed costumes – such as a shark for the ocean themed program. The second way volunteers help is by being a weekly reading volunteer to a group of local preschool children. Reading volunteers get the privilege of exposing the same group of children each week to great books and get to plant the seed of early reading.

 

Exposing children to the arts at a young age is very important to building their creativity.  Learning to dance or play and instrument builds confidence which is so important to early child development.  The ELC outreach team regularly puts on themed literacy programs in local childcare centers and preschool classrooms.  The goal of these programs is to expose children to quality literature and to reach important topics that children need to learn.  The children receive a FREE book relating to the theme of the program and the classroom receives a bag of teaching resources and books to further teach the topic at a later time. 

 

For more information about volunteering contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or 904-342-2267. 

 

The ELC provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds). 

 

For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Helping Hands Newsletter – July Edition

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Enjoy the Helping Hands Newsletter for July! Look for local updates and fun family ideas for the summer. Please note, the correct date for the Early Educators Conference is Saturday, January 18th, 2020.

 

Download here.

 

Download (PDF, 1.43MB)

Free Books for Children at St. Augustine Day Care

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator,

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc.

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Image/Caption:  Members of both the Sertoma and Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine are pictured with the children of Brandts Child Care Center holding up their first book from the Ferst Foundation on June 13, 2019.

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Ferst_Foundation.jpg

 

Free Books for Children at St. Augustine Day Care

St. AUGUSTINE, Fla., June 20, 2019 – All preschoolers at a St. Augustine Day care are now receiving a book a month plus literacy resources for an entire year because of a team of local literacy supporters.

 

In an effort to support the youngest of readers, the St. Augustine Sertoma Club and the Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine teamed up with Ferst Readers are sponsoring Brandts Day Care for one year. On June 13, 2019 The first book, Read to Me, was delivered by members of each club, a Ferst Readers representative and a very special guest, the popular literacy character Pete the Cat!

 

“Amazing things happen when groups come together to help our most valuable and vulnerable resource – our children,” said Literacy Coordinator for the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Joan Whitson.  

Joan Whitson, Kiwanis member, has been working with Ferst Readers through the Early Learning Coalition in several other North Florida counties and loved the program so much she wanted children in St. Augustine to have the same opportunity. She invited Michelle Maddox, Regional Program Coordinator for Ferst Readers, to come and speak to the Kiwanis Club about the Ferst Readers Program. Then Joan presented the program to the Sertoma Club. Both groups were so excited about the program, they raised the funding to sponsor the entire center in a few short months!

 

Ferst Readers is a 501C(3) which has been providing age-appropriate books and literacy resources monthly to children for almost 20 years at no cost to the families in participating communities. For now, in St. Johns County, the Ferst Readers program is a Partnership Action Team (PAT), which means only children enrolled in the Brandts Day Care Center will receive Ferst Readers books each month. The Ferst Foundation would like to expand to reach more children in St. Johns.  

 

Any group of children can be sponsored by an organization or business. Accompanying each book will be the parent engagement newsletter, Leap Into Books, which provides relevant questions, important vocabulary and activities related to the book to help parents read with their child. It also is a community connection piece which will provide donor/sponsor spotlights and local events to inform the parents of special activities they can attend with their families. Each classroom at the Brandts Center will also receive a book and newsletter to build their classroom libraries and create excitement before the children take their books home.

 

For more information about being a volunteer with these programs, contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 or at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

 

For more information about the Ferst Readers program visit their website: www.ferstreaders.org. To get involved with the St. Augustine Sertoma Club visit: www.saintaugustinesertoma.org or the Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine visit: www.kiwanisofstaugustine.com.

 

Additionally, the ELC of North Florida provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds).

 

For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Ferst Foundation

Members of both the Sertoma and Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine are pictured with the children of Brandts Child Care Center holding up their first book from the Ferst Foundation on June 13, 2019.

‘Meet The Masters’ Program Brings Famous Art to Putnam Preschools

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‘Meet The Masters’ Program Brings Famous Art to Putnam Preschools

St. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 15, 2019 – The famous artist Claude Monet is visiting preschool in Palatka this Spring. This is made possible by The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team who teach preschoolers about the arts and influencers during a day of fun activities. Meet the Masters is one of ELC’s many programs which help foster the lives of children from birth through five years of age.

During Meet the Masters, children experience art through different sensory ways. They might wave colored scarves to the music of Beethoven or march with rhythm sticks to Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys” from the classic Babes in Toyland. With great enthusiasm, an ELC volunteer dresses up like a famous artist such as Seurat, Monet or Matisse to talk about their character in a French accent.

When the artist is Seurat, famous for pointillism, the book “The Dot” is read about a girl who thinks she cannot draw until she discovers how making dots can turn into artwork. Each child is then given the book “The Dot” as a gift to take home.  

Children then get a chance to create art for themselves. While learning about Rodin, they will make their own sculptures. Or they try their hand at painting in different styles and subjects. Perhaps they will create dot paintings like Seurat, water lily paintings like Monet, sunflowers like Van Gough or a try a collage-technique to represent Matisse.  

Exposing children to the arts at a young age is very important to building their creativity. Learning to paint or play an instrument builds confidence  – an important component to early child development.

The ELC outreach team regularly puts on themed literacy programs in local child care centers and preschool classrooms. The goal of these programs is to expose children to quality literature and to teach important topics that children need to learn.  For more information about being a volunteer with these programs, contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 or at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

Additionally, the ELC of North Florida provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds).

For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Coalition Needs Volunteer Readers for Clay County Reading Pals Program

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Early Learning Coalition Needs Volunteer Readers for Clay County Reading Pals Program

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida volunteer reader Karen Cercy dressed up as a clown for Halloween with her class at Backpack University in Orange Park, Fla.

ORANGE PARK, Fla., November 20, 2018-  The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is seeking new volunteer reading pals to continue growth for their Reading Pals program.

Volunteer Reading Pals are matched up with local preschool centers where they read once a week or bi-weekly to groups of children.  The ELC has a specific need currently for more volunteers in Clay County.

Reading Pals volunteers will learn the following skills: how to choose age-appropriate books; child development, including the attention span of preschoolers; presenting books to preschoolers and promoting early literacy through phonetically reading.  

“It makes my day when I walk into the classroom and the children cheer ‘It’s the book lady,’” volunteer Reading Pal, Ellen Prest said.

Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs. Instilling an early love for reading is crucial to children’s future success in school.

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use.  Readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances. Volunteers can read solo or they can share their assignment with a partner.  The ELC has several husband and wife teams as well. Civic organizations have also adopted a classroom and members take turns reading.

For more information about becoming a reading volunteer contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 x 202 or email jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Amazing Grace Crop Maze Host Literacy Event

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PRESS RELEASE

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Amazing Grace Crop Maze Host Literacy Event

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla., November 19, 2018-  The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) hosted their fourth early literacy Fall event at the Amazing Grace Crop Maze in Green Cove Springs. Twenty-one local preschools attended the day’s event for a total of 430 children.

During the morning hours, the venue provided hay rides to preschool children which drove them through pumpkin patches. In the afternoon, there was a crop-maze science adventure. Children also enjoyed a mini hay bale maze and were included in other various farm attractions such as rat rollers, duck races, a giant corn popper trampoline and visiting Uncle Buck’s farm animals.

Early Learning Coalition’s staff and volunteers were also on-hand providing an extra craft activity while they handed out free copies of the book “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano to each child. Child care providers in attendance from Bradford, Clay, Putnam, St. Johns and Duval counties received a bagful of assorted Spookley books as well as other Fall-related books.  

“The Early Learning Coalition always enjoys partnering with Amazing Grace Crop Maze this year,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson. “The emphasis on literacy and agriculture that Amazing Grace introduced to the children was a great learning experience.”

The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Meet the Masters Program Featured

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Please enjoy this edition of St. Johns County’s Superintendent Spotlight featuring our Meet the Masters Program.

Superintendent Spotlight – February 2018

 

Early Learning Coalition’s Established Volunteer Program Makes Impact on Children’s Development

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer Erica Bauserman enjoys reading and teaching the children about bees and insects at Brandts Child Care Center in St. Augustine, July 2017.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., July 13, 2017 – Impacting thousands of preschoolers in six area counties, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida provides reading and literacy programs for area preschools through coordinated volunteer outreach.

Managed by the Coalition, volunteers are screened and trained before setting foot in the classroom. The Coalition provides weekly volunteer readers to groups of 3-5 year olds in daycares and preschools, reading for 30 minutes to an hour as well as literacy outreach volunteers who hold monthly literacy-themed programs. Volunteers may participate in one or both programs.

Themed monthly outreach programs are based on either popular children’s books such as “Pete the Cat” and “Clifford” or themes that follow the school’s curriculum such as the ocean, jungle, senses or arts. Volunteers assist with storytelling and leading activities, often donning costumes or props to enhance the stories. Each child also receives a free book which is reflective of the theme.

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use. Weekly readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances.

“Our volunteers are that extra-special person coming in to see them each week who exposes our preschoolers to new books and shares their love of reading,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Coordinator Joan Whitson. “The school staff has told me the children look forward to greeting the readers and go right to them when they arrive.”

Early literacy is key to brain and developmental growth, according to Whitson.

“Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs,” said Whitson.  “Reading to children early sets the groundwork for their future ability to read and learn. We are so grateful for our volunteers who make this impact for our children and future.”

The ELC of North Florida is  seeking more volunteers to join this wonderful program. There will be a required orientation session on Wednesday, September 6th from 10:00-12:30 at the St. Augustine Record building located at One News Place in St. Augustine. To register or for more information to become a weekly volunteer or literacy outreach volunteer please contact Joan Whitson with the ELC of North Florida at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 and at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.