A Taste of Milk & Honey

Evidently, we have not been clear about who attends Head Start. Last week a person who was just learning of our Children’s Enrichment Program asked, “And you take this program to Head Start schools?”  “Yes, we do.”  “Well, isn’t Head Start where the children are sent who have learning disabilities; you know, the ones we once called ‘retarded’?”  “No, absolutely not.”

I took this as a “teaching moment” and explained that all schools should provide educational opportunities and programs for those with special needs. Head Start is not different in that regard. But what is different about Head Start is that it is a pre-kindergarten program for children of the poor. Ninety percent of Head Start children are from families living at or below the poverty level. These children are bright and happy, they respond quickly to stories and songs and rhythmic movement, and, of course, to love and encouragement. If they are lacking, the lack is not in their heads but in their stomachs; not in their hearts but in their homes, often too cold or too hot; not in their potential but in their opportunities. Why not call the Center and arrange a visit to a Head Start school? You’ll see.

I probably said a bit more to my questioner, things like how she could serve those who are under-served, etc. You know, essentially what you and I have talked about. Remember?

From Dr. Fred Craddock, Milk & Honey, March 2008

From the Executive Director

The Really, Really Good News and the Really Good News…

The Really, Really Good News…the week of October 4th, the Arts Specialists from The Craddock Center resumed our Children’s Enrichment Program for the nearly 1,200 pre-K children we serve.

In case you do not know, The Children’s Enrichment Program (CEP) is considered the signature program of The Craddock Center.  Our program is delivered free of charge to schools 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 storytelling, 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 to best prepare these children for Kindergarten.

Welcome to our newest Board Member

The Board of Directors of The Craddock Center welcomes its newest Board member, Robin Massaro.

Robin Massaro is a Managing Consultant with Alight Solutions configuring Workday payroll for clients and successfully bringing them from legacy payroll systems into the Workday Community. She moved to Cherry Log, GA to care for her granddaughter, Alexis, leaving a VP of Payroll position at SMS Holdings in Nashville, TN.  Robin graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Finance and Western Governors University with an MBA.  She holds many certifications in HR, Payroll, Insurance and Workday Software.

Robin is passionate about community and history.  She is an active member in the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. She and her husband, Kyle, adopted a portion of Goose Island Road through Keep Gilmer Beautiful and she is in animal advocacy, transporting shelter dogs out of high kill shelters and into rescue.  You will often find Robin and Alexis in the kitchen making yummy treats and family dinner, doing science experiments or craft projects, and of course walking their rescued German Shepherd, Fritz.  Robin and Kyle recently joined Cherry Log Christian Church. 

Robin looks forward to being a blessing to the Craddock Center and the families it serves.

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

Why Books are Important for Children, AND YOU CAN HELP!

The Craddock Center is passionate about helping children to develop a love for reading.  We believe that a love of reading is a stepping-stone to becoming an enthusiastic learner and a confident reader.  With confidence and enthusiasm, children can enjoy a wonderful world of learning and exploration.  Some reasons why books are important for children:  stories can stimulate imagination and play; reading provides opportunities for parents to bond with their children; stories provoke curiosity and discussion; books provide inspiration, thought and reflection; listening to stories assists in the development of literacy skills and language development; books and stories fill a child’s mind with knowledge.

The Craddock Center provides the little ones we serve brand-new children’s books three times a year.  You can donate pre-K aged books to The Craddock Center, or you can make a cash donation towards the purchase of books.  Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books are especially needed.

You can help by:

  • Sending a donation to buy books to:  The Craddock Center, PO BOX 69, Cherry Log, GA, 30522.  Please note ‘Books’ in the lower left corner of the check.
  • Sending new books to the address above.
  • Purchasing books on Amazon, Walmart and Target websites and have the books sent to:  The Craddock Center, 300 Cherry Log St., #69, Cherry Log, GA 30522

Thank you for helping us get books to our children!!

Dedication of the Louise Hellman Bookroom

Volunteers are a cornerstone to what we are able to do for the little ones we serve.

In 2012, a future volunteer and her grandchild encountered “The Story Express” at a community festival and this is how this future volunteer discovered The Craddock Center.

Once this volunteer discovered Dr. Craddock’s vision and ministry, she admits she was on board in a big way. She went back to Marietta and began recruiting fellow church members and friends to join “Team Mt. Zion.”

She and her team would make regular trips to Cherry Log to process books for distribution and preparation of The Milk & Honey newsletter. In addition, they would go out into the schools and community to take books and knitted caps to the children. They would also help with Camp Craddock in June.

This volunteer would be the beginning of three generations of volunteers to The Craddock Center:  her husband, her sons, and her grandchildren.

It is so appropriate that on August 21, 2021 we dedicated the Louise Hellman Bookroom at The Craddock Center.

The Children’s Enrichment Program – THE ARTS SPECIALISTS

The primary role of arts specialists is to love children and to engage and enrich them through music and movement.  Using Songs and Stories, the Arts Specialists conduct 30-minute music and movement classes with preschoolers according to a defined weekly schedule. They use music, instruments, props, movement, puppets, storytelling, and routines to encourage children to sing, move, dance, and play. They build vocabulary and self-esteem and promote gross motor and rhythmic skills. They serve as cheerful “ambassadors” at all schools and are positive and communicative with school staff and Center staff.

We would like to introduce the Arts Specialists that will be working with the children we serve.

Emilyn Slemons

Emilyn Slemons has been a long-time volunteer at The Craddock Center and is excited to join The Center as an Arts Specialist in the Children’s Enrichment Program. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Women Together Period, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides free menstrual products to women in north Georgia. She loves to create art, write stories, spend time with her family (including her rabbit, Oreo), and engage in conversation over a cup of coffee.

Natalie Jones

The Craddock Center’s own storyteller extraordinaire has delighted audiences as a professional storyteller across the Southeast for over 20 years. A former park ranger, teacher, and librarian, Natalie hails from Eastern Kentucky, a great growing ground for stories. Her interactive style engages listeners of all ages. Natalie has performed at the National Storytelling Conference in Gatlinburg, TN, the Jimmy Carter Library and at schools and libraries all over the state of Georgia. In 2016, she was crowned Georgia’s Biggest Fibber and was the People’s Choice Bold Faced Liar at the Festival of Carolina, both of which are actually compliments. She has joined forces with The Craddock Center and is thrilled to be spreading joy through stories and music to the children of the mountain region.

Tracy Walker

Tracy has always loved stories—hearing them, writing them, and telling them. She is the author of THE TRUTH ABOUT early chapter book series for Scholastic Book Clubs. Tracy began her journey as a storyteller at the Craddock Center and is excited to be back. She has shared stories and workshops at schools, libraries, and festivals throughout the Southeast.  She is also a professional librarian with over 15 years of service in public libraries.

Celebrate National Family Literacy Month

National Family Literacy Month is celebrated during the month of November.  National Family Literacy Month is an opportunity for families to learn and read together.  It also celebrates the work literacy programs, such as those from The Craddock Center, do to empower families.

Here are ways families can celebrate National Family Literacy Month:

  • Visit your local library with your family.  In addition to books, find out about all the programming your library has to offer.  You’d be surprised that many offer classes, workshops, movie nights, reading groups, and more for all ages on a vast variety of topics.
  • Join and participate in a book club or start a book club.  Make it fun and get creative with your book club meeting by having activities or serve food related to the books your group is reading.  MAYBE GREEN EGGS AND HAM!!
  • Attend a book festival together.  Book festivals are held nationally and locally.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet authors, explore a huge variety of genres, meet people, and share the joy of reading.  If there is not a festival happening in your area, talk to your local chamber of commerce to see how you can develop one in your community.
  • Create a book exchange in your neighborhood.  Simply set up a small container to house the books and protect them from the elements a sign that reads, “Take a book, leave a book,” for your neighbors to share books.
  • Donate books.  Everyone has a least a few books that they have read and that are now lying on a shelf someplace in their home waiting for eager eyes to read them again.  Consider donating your gently used children’s books to The Craddock Center or a local charity in your area.
  • Share the love and joy of reading.  Volunteer to read to patients in the hospital, to children in preschool, or to the elderly in a nursing facility.  It costs nothing to be kind and to share your time with those who could use your smile and an open book.
  • Discuss what you’ve read.  Encourage your children to talk about what they have read. Whenever we experience something good, we talk about it.  Talk about the books that excite you with your children, people around you at work, or anywhere.
  • Read, read, and read some more.  Read about any and everything that interests you.  No matter what it may be, read for the enjoyment of reading.

The Craddock Center Charters New Cub Scout Troop

The Craddock Center is excited to announce that we have chartered a new Cub Scout Troop, Pack 440.  The Scouting’s focus on children and family aligns perfectly with the mission of The Craddock Center.  The Craddock Center looks forward to working with Scouting leadership to promote and grow the new Pack 440 and host events like the upcoming ‘Carnival Day’ on October 30th and the Pinewood Derby next year.  Pack 440 is considered a “Family Troop” consisting of both boys and girls.

The Benefits of Scouting

Scouting is based on the principles of loving and serving God, of human dignity and the rights of individuals, and of recognizing the obligations of members to develop and use their potential.  It is a movement dedicated to bringing out the best in people.

When Scouting can help nurture courage and kindness and allow children to play, laugh, to develop their imaginations, and to express their feelings, then we have helped them grow.

Cub Scouting is Fun – children join Scouting because they want to have fun.  While the children are having fun and doing things they like to do, they also learn new things, discover and master new skills, gain self-confidence, and develop strong friendships.

Cub Scouting Has Ideals – Scouting has ideals of spiritual and character growth, citizenship training, and personal fitness.  The Cub Scout Promise is a pledge of duty to God and family.  The Law of the Pack is a simple formula of good Cub Scouting and good citizenship.

Cub Scouting Strengthens Families – The family is an important influence on our nation’s youth.  There are many different types of family structures in today’s world.  Scouting is a support to all types of families as well as to organizations to which families belong.  Cub Scouting provides opportunities for family members to work and play together, to have fun together, and to get to know each other a little better.