Comedian Jody Fuller will be preforming Thursday night at a fundraiser to support Dougherty County’s Family Literacy Connections. (Special photo)
ALBANY — While literacy is certainly no laughing matter, Dougherty County’s Family Literacy Connections is hoping to use laughter as a way of raising awareness about one of the community’s most important issues, literacy.
The organization, which strives to improve the lives of area families and children through literacy initiatives directed at the entire family, is holding its first ever Laughs for Literacy on Thursday at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Albany.
The event will feature nationally known comedian and writer Jody Fuller, as well as heavy hors d oeuvres and refreshments and is designed to as a way to raise awareness and funds for the organization’s many programs.
According to Dougherty County Family Literacy Connections Executive Director Sandy Bamford, the local organization was founded in 2002 thanks to an Even Start grant. Since that time the non-profit has relied on federal grants and funding from the state of Georgia through the Department of Human Services to operate its multiple programs.
“The event is being held to raise funds to help our mission of transforming families through literacy and to raise awareness of our programs,” Bamford said. “We’ve seen how effective (these programs) are. They really do change lives.”
Bamford said the mission of the organization is “transforming families through literacy,” and therefor Family Literacy Connections takes a multi-pronged approach that to reach the entire family.
Statistics from Georgia Kids Count 2013 Data show that 51 percent of Dougherty County families with children have annual income less than 150 percent of the federal poverty threshold and that just more than 49 percent of the county’s children live in poverty.
It is believed that the stress of poverty puts families at risk for a variety of negative outcomes including low-education attainment, child abuse and neglect.
Family Literacy Connections believes that families can find stability, self-sufficiency and success through education and thus provides education and training for both parents and children.
Currently Family Literacy Connections administers adult education classes to parents to help them earn their GEDs, early childhood education classes, after school care through the Reading and Racquets program for children five to 11 and parental training through its Parent and Child Together (PACT) program, Parents as Teachers (PAT) program and the Parent Cafe.
“(The programs) are all part of our overall strategy,” Bamford said. “We focus on the whole family. It’s more successful when you can impact the whole family. It makes sense and it works really well.”
Tickets to Laughs for Literacy are $35 and are available at Family Literacy Connections’ office located at 406 W. Highland Avenue, Albany and at Cartridge World, located at 2820 Meredyth Drive, Albany. Organizers are also asking that anyone purchasing a ticket to also donate a children’s book that can be used to help one of the organization’s families.
Sponsors of the event include MillerCoors, Warehouse Package Store, WelForce Administrators, LRA Constructors Inc. and Artesian Contracting Company.
Fuller grew up in Opelika, Ala., is an veteran of the U. S. Army and currently serves as a captain in the Alabama National Guard. Fuller has served three tours of duty in Iraq and has spent the past few years performing at comedy clubs and writing stories for the Chicken Soup of the Soul series.
A lifelong stutterer, Fuller has been able to carve out a niche as a comedian and in early 2014 opened for Jeff Foxworthy.