graduation

Two-year-old Kylie Burnett smiles while her aunt Dominique Cummings takes her picture prior to a Healthy Families of Coastal Georgia graduation ceremony at the Brunswick Glynn County Library Tuesday.

Bobby Haven/The Brunswick News

Kylie was the picture of pride Tuesday morning, jumping around in her blue cap and gown.

Kylie and her mom, Shaquan Cummings, were among 10 families who graduated from the Healthy Families of Coastal Georgia program during a ceremony held at the Brunswick library.

When Kylie went up to receive her certificate, she was also given a new backpack filled with school supplies. Kylie put it on immediately, over her robes, then smiled for the cameras capturing the moment.

“This year, they’re getting a book bag with supplies … because the whole goal is school readiness,” said Terri Evans, executive director of Coastal Coalition for Children.

The Healthy Families of Coastal Georgia program is part of the Coastal Coalition for Children and serves families in Glynn and McIntosh counties.

The program aims to promote children’s well-being through a curriculum that emphasizes the development of a mother/child bond, beginning prenatally through the child’s third birthday.

Healthy Families workers conduct in-home visits and work closely with parents to provide education, refer them to community resources and monitor child development.

After the child’s third birthday, families graduate from the program. At the graduation ceremony Tuesday, Karen Larrick, program coordinator for the Marshes of Glynn Libraries, talked with parents and their children about the importance of using the library to help promote early reading skills.

The library hosts several programs for young children in the community, Larrick said.

These include the library’s “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to log more than 1,000 books read with their child before they start school.

“This will start them on the road for success in education,” Larrick said.

The library also hosts events where students can spend time reading aloud to therapy dogs.

“Dogs aren’t particular about how well you read,” Larrick said.

Lori Hatton, the Healthy Families program director, encouraged the families to use their library to help their students become skilled readers.

“What have we been telling you guys for three years now? Read, for early literacy,” she said.

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