Thousands raised for childhood literacy

By Johnny Jackson


The Ferst Foundation of Henry County reported more than 500 people attended its Second Annual "Henry Has Talent" Show fund-raiser in McDonough.

The event, held Oct. 23, included 19 different acts, and raised more than $4,000 for the Ferst Foundation of Henry County's free books for preschoolers program, according to Mike Griffin, the chairman of Ferst Foundation of Henry County, Inc.

Griffin said the talent competition's grand prize was awarded to Bryana Salaz, an eighth-grader at Luella Middle School, who performed a rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing." She received the $300 prize.

The "Keep Your Eyes On This One" Award went to 6-year-old Ariana Neal, who sang "Almost There," from the Disney soundtrack of "Princess and the Frog." She was awarded $100.

Ari, Brooke, Ansley and Tori Morgan, all relatives between the ages of 11and 17, won the talent show's "Most Inspirational" Award. The girls call themselves "Tru Harmony," and received $100 in prize money for their performance of "U Smile" by singer Justin Bieber.

All proceeds from the talent competition will benefit Ferst Foundation of Henry County's childhood literacy program, according to Griffin. The program provides a book a month to preschool children, ages birth to 5 years old, from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Griffin said the program, established in the fall of 2005, is designed to help prepare children to become readers by the time they enter school.

The program, he said, currently provides for about 800 children each month. It has given area youngsters more than 52,000 books over the years.

To learn more about the Ferst Foundation of Henry County, visit www.henryferst.com.