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EDITORIAL: What would you be willing to do to guide a child away from a life of crime?

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What would you be willing to do to steer a child away from a life of crime?

What would you be willing to do to ensure that a child grows into a responsible adult who contributes to society in a positive way?

What would you be willing to do to guide in a direction that would lead to a good-paying job rather than a life on welfare, a direction that would lead to a relationship with Christ?

Would you be willing to give just 90 minutes a week of your time to make all that happen?

If you love children and want to see them succeed in life, you have the means to do that through a wonderfully simple and effective ministry that’s being launched by the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s Mission Georgia initiative.

It’s called Read Georgia.

As a retired teacher and a concerned Christian, Donna Millner knows just how dire life can be for people who don’t master reading at a young age.

“The future of our communities rests in the hands of our children,” Millner said. “And, what we’ve seen is that children who do not read well by the end of the fourth grade are likely to end up in jail as adults, or on welfare, or just not successful in life.”

Volunteers work one-on-one for about 90 minutes once a week with two children.

Belinda Harris, who taught second grade for more than 30 years in Fulton County, said the initiative benefits schools, churches, and, most importantly, the children.

“This is important because students learn to read in grades K-3, and they read to learn in grades 4 and up,” she said. “We want to close the gap before third grade.”

Millner said Read Georgia encourages churches to celebrate the progress the children make in their reading.

“Most of the time, those celebrations are held in the church,” she said. “So, when we have the celebrations, the children bring their families. Now, the families have a church that they can connect to.”

Mission Georgia will supply churches with resources they need to recruit volunteers as well as a guidebook to walk them through the steps necessary to adopt a school.

What the Read Georgia initiative has shown is that children aren’t the only ones who benefit. Volunteers do, too.

Read Georgia has just brought laughter and fun back into my life and it’s given me a purpose, because I’m actually helping the next generation,” said Virginia Cox, a volunteer from Fitzgerald. “That makes a big difference in the way I feel about myself.”
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For more information, visit www.missiongeorgia.org/readgeorgia.

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