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A Taste of Milk & Honey

My world just doesn’t sound the same anymore. This sad fact hit me recently in a conversation with Sally, my neighbor’s coon dog. She has for years blessed me with that deep, throaty howl of hers, late at night or in the darkness just before dawn. Look out, coons, her come Sally! But not anymore.

I mentioned this to her when I went over to visit my neighbor. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but only to let her know how pleasant her voice had been. Contralto, I think. Not like the yapping of those little nine-ounce dogs carried in women’s purses. “But you don’t bark anymore,” I said. “I’m a coon dog; bring me a coon and I will bark.” She sounded a bit miffed. I got a little miffed myself. “Do you remember what a coon looks like?” “Of course I do,” she snarled, showing both her remaining teeth. I wanted to prove my point, so I rushed home, brought back an encyclopedia with pictures of animals, shoved it under her nose and said, “Show me which one is a coon.” Sally rolled her said eyes over the page and then confidently pointed to a giraffe. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.

I miss the sound of Sally, but not only Sally. How long has it been since I heard the croaking frogs in a small bog beside Maxwell Road near the railroad? How many seasons ago did I last hear the drumming of the grouse, the melancholy notes of the whippoorwill, the romantic call and response of the bobwhite? These are rural sounds; I am a rural person, why don’t I hear them anymore?

But other sounds, too, are painfully gone; the church bell, the factory whistle at B.C. Jarrell and Co., the creaking rocker of mama’s momma, the ticktock of the clock at daddy’s daddy. And the train whistle. Oh, we have a train, and for it I am grateful. Daily it takes riders north to the Tennessee line, and about once a week it takes freight south to Marietta. It whistles at the Maxwell Road crossing, and I whistle back. But it’s not a choo-choo.

My world just doesn’t sound the same anymore. But one sound is till here and will still be here until all sound is hushed. In fact, here at the Center we are dedicated to making sure this sound will always be heard; The sound of children laughing.

From Dr. Fred Craddock, Milk & Honey, July 2010

From the Executive Director

On March 2nd, I delivered brand-new Dr. Seuss books to the 163 pre-K and Head Start children we serve in Cherokee County, North Carolina. This was part of our Read Across America Day celebration (see page 3 for more details and pictures). Because of the pandemic, we are not able to “celebrate” with the children in their classrooms. However, Andrews Elementary School and Peachtree Elementary insisted I come in and give the books to the children.

I wish everyone of you could see the faces of these children when they get to pick out their own, new Dr. Seuss book. I wish you could see them because you make this happen. Your support of The Craddock Center enables this to happen.

I know, without any hesitancy, that what we do IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of these children. I also know that memories of this day are tucked away in the brains of these little ones and someday they will resurface. Someday, when reading a Dr. Seuss to their own children, they will remember when “someone” thought they were special enough and loved enough to give them a brand-new Dr. Seuss book.

Thank you for making these children feel special and loved!

Spring Campaign 2022

Did you know:

  • Every year 40% of children go into Kindergarten 1 to 3 years behind.
  • Most students who start behind stay behind, year after year.
  • Students who start Kindergarten below grade level form the largest cohort of dropouts, and they have less than a 2% change of attending post high school education.
  • From birth to age 5, a child learns at a speed unmatched the rest of their life.

Because of your support and generosity, The Craddock Center is able to make a difference in these areas for the 1,200 children we support each year in the Pre-K and Head Start programs in southern Appalachia. During the last 20 years, The Craddock Center has served 26,000 children, given away 100,000 new children’s books, and provided 10,500 hours of programming. Your passion for these children and for the work of The Craddock Center is making a difference!

This year our Annual Campaign celebrates the life, work, and legacy of Dr. Fred Craddock. The Campaign will come to a close on April 30th, the birthday of Dr. Craddock.

How can you help us?

Continue your support of the work of The Craddock Center by making a gift. Your gift will: put books into the hands of the little ones that so need them, enable us to continue our programming into the pre-K and Head Start classrooms every week, support the work of the Living Room program to provide household furnishings to those in need, and provide Craddock Cares kits to first responders to help those in crisis.

Thank you again for your continued generosity and enabling The Craddock Center to be able to make a difference for the children, families, and communities in southern Appalachia.

Does the Work of The Craddock Center Matter?

Amid the pandemic, the number of young children attending preschool dropped to its lowest level in more than a quarter century. The decline threatens to derail decades of improvements in school readiness, particularly for the most-vulnerable children.

New Census data shows only 40 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school in 2020, a 14 percentage-point drop from 2019 and the first time since 1996 that fewer than half of U.S. children in that age group attended preschool. The National Institute for Early Education Research found the top three reasons parents pulled their young children from preschool included fears of health risks, cuts to state and other preschool programs and a scarcity of in-school preschool options for working parents.

Elementary schools are already feeling the fallout of incoming kindergartners who missed early education last year. Studies find young children were exposed to significantly more screen time and had fewer opportunities to develop academic routines. Educators are reporting these children were 18 months old when the pandemic hit. So they were in their homes; their opportunity to socialize with others wasn’t readily available. And so, they are coming to schools with some different kinds of behaviors and in a very different place than they have been in the past.

Our work does matter! Even more in light of the Pandemic!

How do we help? The Children’s Enrichment Program (CEP) is the signature program of The Craddock Center. Our program is delivered free of charge to 1,200 3- and 4-year-olds in preschools and Head Start programs in our Southern Appalachian area. Priority is given to schools with the highest percentage of children on free or reduced lunches. Our CEP artists use props, voices, sign language, puppet stages, and movement to share their talents and create learning experiences that build school readiness, imagination, emerging literacy skills, and creativity. We have specially designed our programs, based on research for optimal learning (see attached) to best prepare these children for Kindergarten.

Please consider a gift to The Craddock Center to help us reverse the impacts of the pandemic to these children.

Read Across America Day/Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

On March 2nd, The Craddock Center celebrated Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. On this day volunteers from The Craddock Center delivered 1,126 brand new Dr. Seuss books to the children we serve. Normally, in a non-pandemic year, our staff and volunteers would visit the classrooms dressed as Dr. Seuss characters The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2 to deliver the books and celebrate with the children.

Read Across America Day is a day to celebrate the joys of reading. It also brings awareness to the importance of reading in education for our children. The founders of this day decided to have it on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Dr. Seuss is one of the greatest authors of children’s books. Most kids have grown up reading his many entertaining books. The Craddock Center is making sure our kids can share in the joy of his books like many of us have over the years.

Kudos, appreciation, and recognition to Ameriprise Financial, Omaha, NE, and Amicalola EMC Operation Roundup for their financial support of this year’s program! We also thank our supporters who sent in hundreds of Dr. Seuss books for the children!

Thanks to our volunteers Lynn Tholen and Maureen Hicks for packing the books and bookmarks for delivery. And, thanks to Beth Roberts, Debbie Martin, Joe Cantwell, and Maureen Hicks for delivering the books!

“Thanks for all you do for us. We love you guys and all the books and stuff you give to our kids. Thanks from Hilltop Head Start!”   Sharon Palmer, Head Start Director

“Murphy Head Start children were so happy to have Dr. Seuss books to take home! Thank you!!”  Dianne Abernathy,  Head Start Teacher

“Thanks again for all you do for our students.”  Brian Hoyt, Pre-K Teacher

“Thank you so much! My son is in pre-K and was so excited to show me HIS new book, Green Eggs and Ham.”  Candace Brian Poole, Parent

Celebrate National Tell A Story Day, April 27, 2022

April 27, 2022, is ‘National Tell A Story Day’. Stories have the undeniable quality of transporting us to another time and place as we sit snug in our seats. Stories are also great bonding material since people create memories as they immerse themselves in the storytelling activity. Whether they happened in real life or are a product of our imagination, stories form an interesting part of human society. In the old days, they were used as history recording tools as well as entertainment. From “Aesop’s Fables” and ancient Egypt’s hieroglyphics to modern-day Harry Potter, storytelling is no different today with the advent of shows, books, poetry, etc.

Why We Love National Tell A Story Day

  • It’s a celebration of storytelling traditions
    • Continued from ancient times to the modern day and age, storytelling is a tradition that connects different eras together. It is necessary for human evolution as it carries forward yesterday’s information into the new tomorrow.
  • It’s a celebration of bonding and unity
    • One thing that can connect us no matter our backgrounds are our universal moral lessons and similar life experiences. Storytelling, from all traditions and cultures, has shared elements of human emotions, expectations, and future goals. It makes us empathetic towards each other — a much-needed quality throughout human history.
  • It’s a celebration of stories
    • Whether you like fictional or non-fictional tales, there’s something for everyone. Not only can you get your fix of entertainment, but you can also learn about history and science when watching documentaries or reading interesting science articles.

Welcome to Our Newest Board Member

The Board of Directors of The Craddock Center welcomes its newest Board member, James Shelton.

Rev. James Shelton

James is 2002 graduate of Point University with a B.S. in Music Ministry. His graduate degrees include a Master of Arts in New Testament from Johnson University in 2008 and a Master of Divinity from Mercer University in 2010. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Studies from Liberty University. James has been serving as an adjunct instructor at Point University since October of 2011. 

He has been engaged in Full Time Ministry since 1998 serving Buffington Road Christian Church (College Park, GA), Midway Christian Church (Austell, GA), First Christian Church of Tyrone (Tyrone, GA) where he was honored to be ordained into the Christian Ministry on October 6th, 2002, Maple View Church of Christ (Bluefield, WV) as an Associate Minister working primarily with Worship and Adult Education. In August of 2008, James was called by New Hope to be their Pastor. This is where he is blessed to serve today. James is a resident of Snellville, GA and has two children, Kai, 17, and Scout, 12.

If you have an interest in serving on the Board of The Craddock Center, please contact Kirk Cameron at

Starting A Book Club for Kids

The love for reading as a form of learning is instilled from a young age. More often than not, a child’s first Book Club is mom or dad reading to them from children’s books. Being exposed to reading from an early age supports a child’s imagination and shows them that there is a path to learning paved by books.

A book club for kids is one of the best ways to combine learning and fun. It’s more fun to read the same book with your buddies, which is why book clubs are especially great for reluctant readers. Whether it is through school, the local library, the neighborhood, or a bookstore, it is great when a group of children get together and have books the topic of discussion.

There are options now for kids to participate in entirely online book subscriptions, which are great, but there is something uniquely nice about mixing the fun of a play date with reading a new book. Kids who might otherwise want to read all day or play all day get a mix of both and get to know each other as a result.

A few start up tips:

  • Shoot for second-grade readers and up. Clubs work best when kids can read somewhat independently.
  • Aim for short sessions. An hour tops. Otherwise, kids will lose steam.
  • Keep it Loose. Even if your kid doesn’t finish the book, any amount of reading is good. They may tackle it later, after hearing pals rave about it.
  • Pick a spot. Meet at one another’s homes, book a free room at your local library, or gather outside at a park for a book-themed picnic.
  • Get the ball rolling. Parents can take turns jump-starting discussion. Jot down questions as you read the book or do an online search for guided questions. Good basics: Who was your favorite character and why? Did you like the ending, or would you end it differently?
  • Get active. Your get-together will feel less like “reading class” if you tie in some activities.

The Craddock Center Hosts Narcan Training

In support of our mission towards “Family Enrichment” The Craddock Center hosted a Narcan training program on March 24, 2022.

Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Gilmer County Family Connection, provided the training at no-cost to our community. 14 people from Georgia Mountains Health, Gilmer Schools, New Beginnings, Isaiah House, and Appalachian Judicial Court attended the training provided by Ryan Schwartz from Highland Rivers.

The training focused on education about opioid use, misuse, overdose and how to administer lifesaving Narcan. Each participant received two Narcan kits containing one dose of Narcan.

We Need Gloves for the Children

On November 9th, we will give all of our children a brand-new pair of gloves along with a knitted cap and a new children’s book.

The winters are harsh in the mountains of southern Appalachia and The Craddock Center wants to help provide warmth to the children. YOU CAN HELP!

We need 1,200 pairs of gloves. For as little as $13.99 you can purchase a dozen pairs of gloves. Go to the following ‘wish list’ link on Amazon to order gloves. You can also send a donation to PO BOX 69, Cherry Log, GA 30522 and make a note of ‘gloves’ in the lower left corner of the check.

Let’s help our children focus on learning and not on how to find ways to stay warm.

Thank you for your generosity!

The Craddock Center Receives Literacy Award

On February 17, 2022, Kirk Cameron, the Executive Director of The Craddock Center, provided a presentation about the work of The Craddock Center to the Captain James Kell Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

After the presentation, The Craddock Center was awarded the Literacy Champion Award in recognition of Outstanding Work in Literacy Promotion.

Pinewood Derby at The Craddock Center

Our Cub Scout Troop hosted their first Pinewood Derby, a fun, family event, at The Craddock Center on Saturday, March 26th. Ten racers competed in the event. Best in show went to Parker Settel. Parker also placed first in speed. Lucy Stover placed second in speed and her brother, J.J. placed third. The pack was very excited to run their first race event. Congratulations to all the Scouts who participated and their parents who helped them.

The Pinewood Derby is a Cub Scout car race where 7-inch toy cars, weighing no more than five ounces, are raced down a sloped track. The concept originated with Don Murphy in 1953. Murphy noted, “I wanted to devise a wholesome, constructive activity that would foster a closer father-son relationship and promote craftsmanship and good sportsmanship through competition.”