Our Mission is to strengthen Henry County by providing children and their families with quality books and useful literacy resources at home during the earliest stages of development.

Our Vision is to create better learners, brighter futures, and stronger communities by giving every child under five access to quality books in their homes.

Our Strategy

The parent of every child born at Piedmont Henry Hospital (Henry County residents) is given the opportunity to register their newborn with Ferst Readers. Every registered child receives one quality, age-appropriate book each month from birth to the age of 5. That is a home library of 60 books!

Our Parent Organization:

Ferst Readers (formally the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy) is a public 501 (c) 3 nonprofit with the mission to “provide books for local communities to prepare preschool children for reading and learning success.” Ferst Readers strives to improve early learning opportunities for every child regardless of income, race, religion or gender with the philosophy that any child who cannot read is at-risk.

Find out more at www.ferstreaders.org

We are the local affiliate of Ferst Readers. All funds collected from our efforts go directly to providing books for children living in Henry County.


Our Challenge:

Our goal is to register every single preschool child in Henry County! Funding is our only barrier. The books we send are free to the child, but they are not free. It costs us $42 to purchase and mail one book each month for one year. We currently have almost 2000 children on our registration list.

Our Partners: 

Ferst Readers of Henry County is supported by many generous partners including:

Henry County Schools, Heritage Community Foundation, The First Bank, Snapping Shoals EMC, Taylor Family Foundation, John & Judy Davis Foundation, Speedway Children’s Charities, Piedmont Henry Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Henry County Library System, Henry County Retired Educators Association, Henry Heritage Reading Council, Walmart Foundation, Central Georgia EMC, Griffin Insurance, Lion’s Club of McDonough, Jim Ellis Toyota, City of Stockbridge, Henry County Rotary, Kiwanis Club of Henry County, The Women’s Center, P.C., McDonough Woman’s Club, McDonough Junior Women’s Club, United Community Bank, Edward Jones, Atlanta Scales, & Morrow Civic Woman’s Club

Our Team

Ferst Readers of Henry County is a 100% volunteer-driven organization. The Community Action Team (CATeam) is made up of local business leaders, retired educators, and civic-minded community volunteers.


Members of our team include: Anita Beasley, Cindy Arnold, Liz Colson, Carolyn Fuller, Doris Griffin, Mike Griffin, Carol Hilburn, Robin Jones, Tara Ott, Katrina Paggett, Krystal Richter, Ruth Rucker, Angie Simpson, Deb Watkins, Marilyn Werner

Doris Griffin


Doris Griffin has served on the Community Action Team (CAT) for Ferst Readers of Henry County (formerly Ferst Foundation of Henry County) since the local chapter began in 2005. She has served as chair of the Ferst Spring Luncheon since 2008, coordinated Henry Has Talent! from 2009-2012, and has been a Ferst mentor for the cooperative fundraising effort between Ferst and Henry County Schools. Doris has a B.A. from Vanderbilt University and a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Doris believes that her greatest work has been raising two sons and volunteering and tutoring in their schools throughout their tenure in Henry County Schools, and serving in her church. She assumed the role of Chair of Ferst Readers of Henry County in May 2018.

Patti Brown

Immediate Past Chair

Patti Brown served as the immediate past-Chair of Ferst Readers from 2012 to 2018. Helping to see that children and families in the community are better prepared for school has motivated Patti to volunteer with Ferst. She also owned and operated three SERVPRO franchises in Metro Atlanta, including SERVPRO of Henry & Spalding Co., SERVPRO of Decatur, and SERVPRO of Clayton Co. She served on the Board of Directors of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, and as Chair of the Professional Development Committee for Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA). Patti also is a certified instructor in the State of Georgia for the insurance and real estate industry.

Carolyn Fuller

Co-Founder & Treasurer

Carolyn Fuller is a retired librarian, having served 40 years in academic and public libraries. She has always been a reader and is certain that because of that she has been able to succeed beyond her wildest dreams. Carolyn was the first in her family to get a college degree followed by two master?s degrees. She is confident that the reason she succeeded was because her parents had a high regard for reading, and they read to her before she could read for herself. Carolyn always had books from the library even when there wasn't money to buy books. She firmly believes that if children have books to read, they will read and succeed. That is why Ferst is so dear to Carolyn.

Mike Griffin

Founder & Past Chair

Mike Griffin helped bring the Ferst Foundation to Henry County in 2005. As a local businessman, Mike has always supported educational efforts in the county. In fact, his work with Ferst spurred him to run for and serve on the Henry County Board of Education. Mike continues to support Ferst Readers because
he understands the long-term impact that improving reading readiness has on a child's performance in school and in life.

Deb Watkins

Grant Writer

Deb Watkins enjoyed a 40-year career selling wallcovering and fabrics to interior designers in Georgia and Florida. In retirement, one of her goals was to give back to the community, and through her McDonough book club, she met Doris Griffin, the current chair of Ferst Readers. At her first Community Action Team meeting, she met many other committed high caliber people involved in Ferst, and knew this was where she would offer her skills. She finds it heartwarming to know that she is helping Henry County's preschool children to a brighter future paved with books.

Carol Hilburn


Carol Hilburn has been a Community Action Team member with Ferst Readers of Henry County for many years. She has registered infants and children into the chapter database and contacted parents to ensure that Ferst has the correct information. She enjoys this interaction, especially hearing the excitement in the voice of a new mother.

Carol is a retired educator, having taught elementary school for 28 years. She understands that exposure to books at an early age makes school a fun and exciting place for children, rather than an unpleasant challenge. Carol has witnessed that children who have had books in their hands from birth know how to turn pages, recognize words, and read pictures.

It pleases Carol greatly that her grandchildren were read to every night from birth until they were able to read for themselves. Her two eldest grandsons continue to read daily for pleasure. Carol's younger grandchildren were recipients of books from Ferst Readers of Henry County. She recalls that they were always excited when they received their Ferst books in the mail, and they opened their books and immediately began looking through them. Her older grandsons were quick to join them and the new books were read immediately.

Marilyn Werner


Marilyn Werner is a retired educator who taught school for 31 years. Since retirement in 1999, Marilyn has served in a volunteer capacity as a member of the Henry County Retired Educators Association and the Georgia Retired Educators Association (GREA). Marilyn and her beloved husband, Harry Werner, joined the Community Action Team for Ferst Readers of Henry County in its early days. In 2015, Marilyn and Harry Werner were awarded the Harry Werner Distinguished Volunteer Award by Ferst Readers. This was a posthumous award for Harry. In 2017, Marilyn received the A Friend of GREA Award for her monthly volunteer service at the state office.

The new Ferst Readers of Henry County website is made possible by Marilyn's generous donation in Harry Werner's memory.

Robin Jones

Newborn Registration Coordinator

Robin Jones Robin Jones is the First Steps Program Coordinator for the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. The First Steps Program that Robin coordinates works with families of newborns at Piedmont Henry Hospital offering support, current parenting information, and referrals to community resources. First Steps also registers newborns for the Ferst Readers childhood literacy program. Prior to this Robin served as the Director of Prevent Child Abuse Henry County for 26 years. She has been married to her wonderful husband for 31 years and has two beautiful daughters.

A child?s path to a brighter future is paved with books.









$42 gives a child books for 1 year


$84 gives a child books for 2 years


$126 gives a child books for 3 years


$168 gives a child books for 4 years


$210 gives a child books for 5 years


Reading readiness has a profound long-term impact on a child’s performance in school and in life. Help us help the children in our community. Your generous donation will help ensure that more children succeed. Remember, a child’s path to a brighter future is paved with books.