A Taste of Milk & Honey

YES, I GUESS YOU COULD SAY that our Children’s Enrichment Program adds luxury to the otherwise rather sparse lives of many of the children we serve. This is not to say that we regard as of less value the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter, needs that occupy parents of the children. Of course not. We watch and listen and often stretch our funds to help address those needs. But the point is, we do not regard all luxuries and luxuries. A story, a song, a book, a toy, a funny hat, a silly game: these, too, are necessities, not luxuries. It is not the case that bread on the table is the only necessity; so is the candle, the violin, the colorful napkin, and the laughter of those who love the child. These, too, are essential because the children are human beings, created by God’s image, with hearts, minds, feelings, and imagination.

Once Jesus and his friends were guests at a dinner party at which a woman anointed Jesus with an expensive ointment. Some of Jesus’ friends objected, calling her act “wasteful.” Jesus heard their complaining and responded sharply, “Leave her alone; she has done a beautiful thing for me.”

I’m sure you already know, but let me again assure all you who give to the Children’s Enrichment Program: Not one penny of your gift is wasted. Every penny goes towards those things every child really needs.

Thank you for your generosity.

-Written by Dr. Fred Craddock, July 2009

Spring Campaign 2023

Because of your support and generosity, The Craddock Center has been able to make a difference in the lives of the 1,100 children we support each year in the Pre-K and Head Start programs in southern Appalachia. During the last 22 years, The Craddock Center has served 27,000 children, given away over 100,000 new children’s books, and provided 11,000 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 resiliency of The Craddock Center and its donors, supporters, volunteers, and staff. We successfully navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic and are now well positioned for the future. 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.

From the Executive Director

When I started as Executive Director of The Craddock Center on November 2, 2020 I had a number of goals on my list. First and foremost, get us through the pandemic and continue connections with the children as much as we could. The Craddock Center never closed. We had to curtail our in-person programming but thanks to our volunteers and supporters the children still received their brand-new books, knitted caps, wooden toys, and virtual Santa visits.

Some of my other goals: Improve the long-term financial stability of The Craddock Center – DONE! Take the Children’s Enrichment Program into the classrooms every week – DONE! Charter a Cub Scout Pack – DONE! Have recovery groups utilize our Meeting Building as a place to gather – DONE! Improve awareness of the work of The Craddock Center in our communities – DONE! Create and implement a maintenance program to protect our physical property assets – DONE!

But there was one goal that was second on my list: Help parents become the best teachers they are meant to be!!

Through our Children’s Enrichment Program, we spend 25 minutes a week with 1,130 three and four-year old children in Pre-K and Head Start. What if The Craddock Center had the opportunity to impact these children from age 0 to 5? What if The Craddock Center could provide parents the tools they need to fully develop the learning skills of their children from birth to age 5?

The Craddock Center is excited to announce its newest program…SMART BABIES!

You will hear much more about this program in the months to come. Please look for another article from one of our Board Members, Bev Cook, who is helping to spearhead this exciting new opportunity for The Craddock Center and the children and families in our communities.




  • 40% of children walk into kindergarten already one to three years behind.
  • 71% of children who start kindergarten behind are still behind in the 5th grade.
  • Students who start Kindergarten below grade level form the largest cohort of dropouts, and they have less than a 2% chance of attending post high school education.

We at The Craddock Center were shocked by these statistics.  We knew we could not ignore this. 

So, we got busy.

  • First, we researched the two closest counties to The Craddock Center, Fannin, and Gilmer, to see if any organization was addressing this issue.  The answer was no.
  • Second, we researched what was going on in our state. Fortunately, awareness in this area appears to be growing but no definitive plans are in place.
  • Third, we researched effective programs being utilized in the nation.

Our research showed that the parent was the child’s first teacher. But we also found that some parents do not have the knowledge or tools to fully help develop their child’s mind.  Since learning in the first five years is at a speed unmatched by any other time in life, the knowledge and tools must be provided to these parents.  The Craddock Center hopes to do exactly that.

We are in the process of developing parenting workshops through a program that will be called ‘Smart Babies’.  Stay tuned in our next newsletter to hear about the curriculum we have chosen and more about the workshops.

*Provided by “Ready for Kindergarten”

Recruiting New Board Members

Are you looking for a rewarding experience?

A new opportunity to give back to your community?

Do you have a passion for children and literacy?

The Craddock Center is looking for motivated individuals to serve on its Board of Directors.

Most of us reach a point in our lives where we need a new challenge. What better way to introduce a new challenge than to inspire change by serving on a nonprofit Board such as with The Craddock Center. As a Board Member, you will witness first-hand the social impact of our programs for the children and families in our community while offering advice, oversight, and support.

Nonprofits, such as The Craddock Center, lead by fulfilling our mission and work to make an impact on the children and families of southern Appalachia. We are looking for members of our community who want to lead with us and bring your skills and expertise to make a difference in our community!

If you have an interest, please contact Kirk Cameron at 706-632-1772 for more information.

Pinewood Derby at The Craddock Center

Our Cub Scout Pack 440, hosted their second Pinewood Derby, a fun, family event, at The Craddock Center on Saturday, February 18th. This year we used our own track that was purchased with proceeds from a fundraiser and a 50/50 match from The Craddock Center.  The pack was very excited to run their first race event on our own computerized track!

First Place went to Odin Joyner. Second Place to JJ Stover, and Third Place to Carter Parkhurst. 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.”


On March 2nd, The Craddock Center celebrated Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. On this day volunteers from The Craddock Center delivered 1,130 brand new Dr. Seuss books and Dr. Seuss bookmarks to the children we serve.

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 wacky, rhyming, and wonderfully 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 Amicalola EMC Operation Roundup for their financial support of this year’s program! We also thank our supporters who sent in monetary donations and hundreds of Dr. Seuss books for the children!

Thanks to our volunteers Marcia Lehman, Judy Weiland, and Lynn Higginbotham for packing the books and bookmarks for delivery.

And, thanks to Beth Roberts, Debbie Martin, Larry Brannen & Carolyn Lakes, and Pam Hurd for delivering the books!

What we heard from the teachers from the Read Across America Day Celebration

“Thank you so much for the books and bookmarks. The kiddoes love them!”

Christina Canada-Clark, Pickens County Head Start

“Thank you for all you do!”

Mary Beth Moss, Union County Head Start

“Our Pre-K children sure loved receiving their books and bookmarks!

Thank you for you do for our program!”

Holly Cook, Union County Elementary School Pre-K

“Thank you for thinking of our children!”

Brian Hoyt, Murphy Elementary School Pre-K

“Thank you so much! We are so excited about the books!”

Katrina Kingsley, Gilmer County Elementary School Pre-K