The Early Literacy Academy isn’t a typical Boys & Girls Club program, but its mission ties into a goal shared by numerous entities in Glynn County.
The preschool program serves 3- and 4-year-olds and emphasizes the importance of ensuring students can read on grade level at an early age.
“If we can get these kids started now, by the time they’re in third grade, they should be on their reading level,” said Brooke Eldridge Parmelee, director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia.
Students who can read on grade level by third grade are proven to have a better chance at academic and other kinds of success throughout the remainder of their years in school and later as adults.
A donation made this week by the local chapter of 100 Women Who Care demonstrated the organization’s support for this work.
The Coastal Georgia chapter of 100 Women Who Care donated just over $24,000 to the Early Literacy Academy, which was chosen as this quarter’s beneficiary for the group’s monetary support.
The chapter was founded in 2020 by five local women — Cathy Foley, Sandy Metzger, Susan Mundy, Melissa Stroud and Catherine Wood. The group’s work is premised on the simple idea that collaboration can create a significant impact in the community.
The organization’s founders met Monday with Boys & Girls Club representatives at the academy, located at 2102 Albany Street in Brunswick, to present the donation.
The money will help the Boys & Girls Club continue and expand the Early Literacy Academy, which Parmelee hopes to see outgrow the space it’s in now.
Around 55 students are currently enrolled at the Early Literacy Academy, which opened in 2019.
“This is actually the first full year that these kids have been here,” Parmelee said. “And if they’re 4 now, they will go to pre-K in the fall, and then we’ll have a new group of kids to come here.”
Glynn County Schools and numerous community partners have placed great emphasis on collaborating to ensure the community’s students are reading on grade level.
“We’ve got to start when they’re younger,” Parmelee said. “We work directly with the school system and others. The library plays an integral role in this program as well. We start with these kids at 3 and 4, and their parents, teaching their parents how to read to them.”
The local chapter of 100 Women Who Care has grown to include 250 members. And each new member increases the financial impact their donations can make for area charities.
The group aims to make a donation once a quarter to an important cause in Glynn County. Each charity must be local and is randomly selected through a nomination process.
“The members are able to put up a nomination and nominate different local charities,” Wood said. “We put them in a basket, and we draw three of them.”
Members who nominated the three that are drawn from the basket will then be given 10 minutes to speak about the charities.
“After that, the members vote,” Wood said. “After hearing all three presentations, they vote on which charity they want our $100 donation to go to for that quarter.”
Each member donates $100, which currently totals to $25,000 each quarter. Because of the pandemic, most of the group’s meetings last year were virtual. Nonetheless, they raised more than $85,000 in 2020 and made donations to five local charities.