A Taste of Milk & Honey

“Thou Shalt Barely Get By” is not the Eleventh Commandment. In fact, it is not a commandment at all; it is not even a guide for anyone’s life. Even the poorest of the poor struggle to find in life a song, a poem, a touch of art, a sweet aroma, a kind of flourish that announces to the world, “I, too, am created in God’s image.” Years ago, a psychologist named Maslow classified needs in a person’s life. He began with physical needs (food, clothing, etc.), followed by safety and security needs. Than came the need for love. At the top of his pyramid, and last of all, was the need for self-esteem, enrichment, and fulfillment. It makes a kind of sense.

However, at The Craddock Center we reverse the order. Of course, we try to address needs as they are presented to us; but in our programs for children, we meet them with songs, art, dance, and story. In other words, we specialize in enrichment and self-esteem. We could justify what we do by quoting experts in child development, but we do not. We point to the children – laughing, listening, singing, and dancing. Ask them if they are poor and they will smile and say, “No.”

And so, next month Head Start/Pre-K will begin again, and thanks to all of you who support The Craddock Center, 1,000 three- and four-year-olds will turn loose of Mother’s skirt to which they cling with fear and tears, and begin to listen, to laugh, to sing, and to dance. In other words, they will meet our artists and their fun helpers.

Any questions? Then come visit, but come prepared for your heart to melt.

Written by Dr. Fred Craddock, July 2004

From the Executive Director

Why do I enjoy my job so much?

First, the generosity of talents, time, spirit, and money that I witness everyday so that The Craddock Center can serve our community is heartwarming! Also, those unexpected moments of generosity melt my heart. In early June, a homeless family reached out to us about obtaining furniture, household goods, and linens from The Living Room for their residence. They said, “We have nothing.” They made two trips to The Craddock Center to pick up what they needed from what we had available. After they completed packing their second load of items, a woman that was with them handed our Office Manager a twenty-dollar bill. She said she appreciated what we are doing for her family, and she wanted to help the children we serve. This was not the first time that someone with very little gave to The Craddock Center out of a desire to show gratitude and generosity.

Second, while I am making my rounds to civic organizations & community events, churches, other non-profits, and just out about in the community, the countless stories I hear from parents and young adults about the presence of The Craddock Center in the classrooms of their children or when they were in pre-K or Head Start. They talk about the books they received, the wooden toys, the knitted caps, and of course the programming our Arts Specialists bring into the classroom. The smiles on their faces when they share these stories show the gratitude and appreciation in their hearts!!

I am a few months away from my three-year anniversary as Executive Director of The Craddock Center. I have never regretted coming out of retirement to follow God’s call into this role.

Don’t ever doubt or wonder if The Craddock Center is making a difference. WE ARE EVERY DAY TO MANY CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN OUR COMMUNITY!!!

Introducing Our Newest Program: Smart Babies

The ‘Smart Babies’ Committee has been hard at work this summer. We are scheduled to present the Smart Babies program to three non-profits in our area with the goal of providing workshops to the parents they serve. Facilitator training will take place soon and we will be ready to start this exciting endeavor to help parents be their child’s best teacher! The Craddock Center thanks Bev Cook, one of our Board Members, for her outstanding leadership and planning to bring us to this point!

The “Smart Babies’ program will be using the Ready for Kindergarten curriculum which emphasizes targets in three areas (examples of each target provided):

  • Language and Literacy
    • Naming and matching letter shapes
    • Recognizing sight words
    • Singing, chanting, and rhyming
    • Hearing spoken words
  • Math and Reasoning
    • Counting
    • Matching number shapes
    • Naming colors
    • Adding/subtracting
  • Social and Emotional Learning
    • Relating to others
    • Following directions
    • Developing emotional well-being

We will initially concentrate our workshops for parents with children in the following age groups:  0 – 1 years, 1 – 2 years, and 2 – 3 years.

Parents will attend three workshops over the year that will be focused on the Ready for Kindergarten curriculum. Workshops will be approximately 90 minutes in duration with 6-10 participants. During each workshop, parents will learn about targets in the three areas mentioned above and be given methods and tools (toys and books) to focus on these targets at home. There will be lots of opportunities for sharing and practicing. We plan to provide a meal after each workshop to promote further discussion and bonding among the parents.

‘Smart Babies’ will also provide interim sessions for parents which will be a little more informal. We plan on visits to the library, playdates at the park and exploring other ways to promote their babies’ mind development.

Stay tuned to hear more about our progress. We’re excited!

Welcome to Our Newest Board Members!

The Board of Directors of The Craddock Center welcomes its newest Board members, Heidi Ferraro and Gene Carson.

Heidi was born and raised in Massachusetts. She is married with two children and has degrees in Travel and Tourism and Business Administration. She spends her time traveling, attending theatre, and enjoying a good book. Heidi has spent the last 30 years doing large event planning in various ways. She was a corporate travel agent and large group meeting planner for Youngs Travel/American Express, where she organized events for 50-1000 people. She also was the wedding planner for her community church. Heidi has been on the fundraising board of Smiley for Kylie for the last 8 years where she heads the fundraising auctions and helps plan fundraising events. She has spent much time working with children as a preschool teacher, Sunday school teacher, Boy Scout Den leader, Girl Scout Assistant leader and Cookie Coordinator. She has lived all over the US and working for her community and helping families and children brings her great joy.

Gene left Clemson University with a degree in Political Science and Accounting. He quickly got a job as a Cost Accountant in a plastics manufacturing company. After working in a small town for a few years, he realized he was meant for bigger and better things. He moved to Atlanta and found himself soon working for Turner Broadcasting where after a few years he soon advanced his career and eventfully became a Senior Director for Operations, working to help acquire MGM, Hanna-Barbera and other companies that helped establish the framework of Turner Network before being acquired by Time Warner. Later, Gene learned that “wireless” could be the next big challenge. He spent the rest of his professional career working primarily as a Sr. Operating VP with AT&T, nsoro, and MasTec. He retired in 2017. Gene has spent many hours and past years supporting and serving as an officer for the Young Democrats and Human Rights Campaign, as well as supporting Special Olympics.

If you have an interest in serving on the Board of The Craddock Center, please contact Kirk Cameron at kirk-craddock@tds.net.

What’s New for Cub Scout Pack 440

Our Scouts attended Adventure Camp at Camp Sidney Dew in June. They completed a space-themed NOVA adventure, the AOL trek for the older scouts, and performed many scout skills! They also had a great time completing the fun run and campfire program. Most importantly, they enjoyed spending time together outside!

Calling All Knitters!!

The winters in southern Appalachia can be cold and keeping our children warm is a top priority. Each November we give all of our 1,100 children handmade knitted caps that are donated by knitters and knitting groups from all over the country.

Help us with this annual tradition!! Please send us the wonderfully warm caps that you make throughout the year. We can also pick up caps from knitters close to our area.

You can mail caps to The Craddock Center, 300 Cherry Log St., #69, Cherry Log, GA 30522. Call 706-632-1772 for more information.


We Need Brand New Children’s Books

In November we will give away 1,160 new children’s books. We currently have 783. We need 377 more new books for the three- and four-year-olds in our Pre-K and Head Start programs. You can mail a donation for us to purchase the books. Please put ‘BOOKS’ in the lower left corner of the check and mail the check to: The Craddock Center, PO BOX 69, Cherry Log, GA 30522.

You can order the books from Amazon, Walmart, and Target and have the books mailed to: The Craddock Center, 300 Cherry Log Street, #69, Cherry Log, GA 30522.

Please help us make this annual November tradition a success!

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

We Serve by Sharing – The Legacy Program of The Craddock Center

First, thank you for your support of the work of The Craddock Center. Because of you, we ARE making a difference in the communities of southern Appalachia. The Craddock Center wants to continue to make a difference in the decades to come and beyond.

This month we are launching the Legacy Program of The Craddock Center – We Serve by Sharing. “We Serve by Sharing” is from The Craddock Center Mission Statement. We serve the children and share our time, skills, talents, and money to sustain the work and plan for and build for the future of The Craddock Center.

The Craddock Center has been serving the children and families in our communities for 23 years. We don’t know what our communities will look like 25 years from now, but we have no doubt that what we do for the children will continue to be needed.

Please consider a planned gift to support and sustain the work of The Craddock Center. You can call The Craddock Center at 706-632-1772 to request a brochure.

Thank you again for your support of The Craddock Center and thank you for your consideration on how you can support its future.