The Rev. Solomon Loud, left, of New Beginning Church, talks with Sandy Bamford, CEO of the Family Literacy Connection, Wednesday at a quarterly meeting of Albany area organizations that are working to improve literacy in the area. (Mary Braswell)
A person is not born knowing how to follow a recipe, drive a car or read a book. Literacy is learned and illiteracy, though not a genetic trait, is most often passed along to a child by a parent who cannot read. And so goes the cycle which is a predominate factor in poverty, children born out of wedlock, dropout rates, unemployment, public assistance, homelessness, poor health habits and incarceration.
On Wednesday, Room C at the Georgia Department of Human Services was packed with about 50 people gathered for lunch and a time to share resources to help reduce all of the above scenarios. Sponsored by the Family Literacy Connection, the Family Connection quarterly collaborative meeting featured representatives from numerous agencies giving brief overviews of just what services are available. The Rev. Solomon Loud of New Beginning Church, which has recently opened the only 24-hour daycare in Albany, offered the prayer of blessing.
Mixed in with the professionals were about a dozen parents that are working toward earning a GED, including one father. This group was asked to stand and drew a hearty round of much-deserved applause.
According to Sandy Bamford, chief executive officer of FLC, “anyone that wants to help children and families in the community is welcome to attend.” Among agencies represented were Lutheran Services of Georgia, Open Arms, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Girls, Inc., the Salvation Army, the Dougherty County School System, A Place 4 Hope, Albany Housing Authority, Adult Protective Services, CASA, Faith Community Outreach and others.
A first-timer at one of the collaborative meetings, held quarterly, was Janice Route Blaylock, a retiree from MillerCoors. Blaylock is a volunteer RN at the Samaritan Clinic, a member of the executive board for Albany ARC and the Albany Civil Rights Institute as well as a Court Appointed Special Advocate.
The services available in Albany are amazing and the number of people involved in improving the lives of those in need is many. Anyone wishing to attend the next meeting, it will be at noon on Nov. 13 at the Georgia Department of Human Services at 200 W. Oglethorpe Blvd.
Email Mary Braswell at firstname.lastname@example.org.