Programs and Events
The Craddock Center has many programs that help with families in Southern Appalachia. Here is just a few of the many programs and events that the Craddock Center has to offer.
The Children’s Enrichment Program (CEP) is the signature program of The Craddock Center. Throughout our three-state Southern Appalachia region, our arts specialists deliver regular half-hour music and movement instruction, storytelling, and puppet shows to 64 classrooms, totaling nearly 1,200 children. Our program is delivered free of charge to schools in the area, with priority given to schools with the highest percentage of children on free or reduced lunches. Storytellers also bring to life engaging, language-rich stories, often with Appalachian themes. Our CEP artists use props, voices, sign language, and movement to share their talents and create learning experiences that build school readiness, emerging literacy skills, and creativity.
Camp Craddock is a traveling summer camp delivered to children’s backyards and providing songs, stories, games, and crafts each day for one week. Since 2011, this program has delivered summer enrichment to children at greatest risk of summer reading loss. Sandwiched between service of breakfast and lunch and interspersed with visits from the Story Express, our customized book mobile, Camp Craddock serves multiple sites throughout Southern Appalachia each year. The goal of Camp Craddock is to reduce or eliminate the summer learning gap. This mobile camp is delivered to children in their own backyards through the work of mission groups and summer staff. More than 400 children typically participate in Camp Craddock. The week-long camp curriculum consists of songs and stories, arts and crafts, physical movement, and books each day.
The Story Express program provides hundreds of new children’s books to each of our 64 classrooms three times during the school year. Each time The Story Express visits a school, our CEP Artists and volunteers bring in hundreds of books for the children to choose one of their own from! In addition to classrooms, The Story Express program visits health fairs, food pantries, community events, and Camp Craddock sites, and gives out books to all school-age children. These books are primarily donated to The Craddock Center through the generosity of our nationwide network of supporters.
The Living Room is a furniture outreach program stocked wholly from donations from our surrounding community. Our donations grew and so did the numbers of families and individuals who need basic items. Used and occasionally new furniture and household items are shared with families who are in crisis, recovering from fire, eviction, mold infestation, or family violence. We often see young families with small children visiting The Living Room in search of simple items such as a table, a chair, or a set of dishes. In 2020, we enhanced a partnership with Family Connections in Gilmer and Fannin Counties. This enabled us to offer support to organization such as Women’s Crisis Center. We saw many similar organizations in our community increase referrals of families in need to The Living Room. The Living Room is open every day for donations and open to families to select their items two days a week.
Songs & Stories is a free, annual event that includes musicians and storytellers who share the best of Appalachia’s unique culture and traditions. In 2020, over 150 people attended a performance by local musicians and storytellers.
Craddock Cares is an outreach program sponsored by The Craddock Center. Craddock Cares was formed in 2020 to support children, women, families, and the elderly who find themselves in emergency situations, displacements, and other significant crisis events. Our Craddock Cares kits include selected items placed in 2-gallon, water-proof bags. The bags are designed to be easily carried by first responders for emergency use when transporting or caring temporarily for children or adults in transition. One Craddock Cares kit includes: · Lightweight tote bag, Blanket, Bottled water, Stuffed animal, Tooth brush and tooth paste, Hand towel, Hat and gloves (winter months)