Putting the last line of the FFA motto, Living to Serve, into practice, the Grundy County FFA in Tennessee is helping promote child literacy across its school system.
The chapter received a $400 Living to Serve Grant, sponsored by the National FFA Organization, in the fall of 2018 to support its mission of purchasing a book for each kindergarten and first-grade student in the Grundy County School District.
The effort, which was part of the Tennessee FFA Association’s PLOW (Passing Literacy OnWard) program, resulted in the Grundy County FFA buying and distributing more than 260 books to each of the six Grundy County elementary schools in December 2018, just in time for the holiday season.
Members read to students in each kindergarten and first-grade classroom, too, which Grundy County FFA advisor Whitney Judd says was an important aspect of the chapter’s initiative.
“Studies have shown that kids who are read to at a young age have a larger vocabulary and a higher literacy level than those who weren’t read to,” says Judd, who also serves as the Grundy County High School agricultural education teacher. “Our chapter believes in the power of just one – in this case, just one book for each Grundy County kindergartener and first grader. We’re hopeful our efforts will help these students grow into confident readers and speakers later in life. We plan to continue this project in the future, ideally distributing books in November during Tennessee Agriculture Literacy Week.”
Interested in applying for your own Living to Serve grant? Visit FFA.org/LivingToServe.