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Strand Notebook | Miss Ruby’s Kids annual garden party slated

Miss Ruby Forsythe was inducted into the Georgetown County Women's Hall of Fame in March 2015. Miss Ruby, was born in 1905 and died in 1992. She began teaching at the Pawleys Island school in 1938 and remained there until she retired in 1991. The school closed in 2000 after 97 years. Miss Ruby's Kids, a literacy program for children, bares her name. The Sun News file photo by Cecelia Konyn
Miss Ruby Forsythe was inducted into the Georgetown County Women's Hall of Fame in March 2015. Miss Ruby, was born in 1905 and died in 1992. She began teaching at the Pawleys Island school in 1938 and remained there until she retired in 1991. The school closed in 2000 after 97 years. Miss Ruby's Kids, a literacy program for children, bares her name. The Sun News file photo by Cecelia Konyn jblackmon@thesunnews.com

The 2016 Annual Miss Ruby’s Kids Garden Party will be held on April 17 on the lawn of the beautiful Kaminski House Museum in Georgetown. The Garden Party, from 2-5 p.m., is the signature fundraiser for the nonprofit early literacy program serving families in Georgetown County.

According to its website, Miss Ruby’s Kids, modeled after the National Parent Child Home Program, has grown from a pilot program serving five families to a well-respected community supported organization fostering educational preparedness and providing high quality educational books and toys to low-income families within the community.

Miss Ruby’s Kids is named for Ruby Middleton Forsythe, a passionate educator who was inducted into the Georgetown Women’s Hall of Fame last year. She was born in 1905 and died in 1992. She taught in a small school in the Waccamaw Neck/Pawley’s Island area from 1938 until 1991.

Through its three programs, Miss Ruby’s Kids serves around 130 kids. Founded in 2003 by sisters Jo Fortuna and Betsy Marlowe, it was initially sponsored by Holy Cross Faith Memorial Episcopal Church, but is now an independent nonprofit organization.

The programs offered are limited to children who are at-risk of school failure. Miss Ruby’s Kids’ provides specially trained home visitors who visit the homes with participating 2- and 3-year-old children twice weekly and help parents to become their child’s “first, best teacher.”

After the children and parents go through the two year program and the child begins kindergarten, Miss Ruby’s Kids’ volunteer mentors go into the schools to mentor them, and the kids are supported throughout their school days.

“The program is completely free for the participants and they get high quality educational books and toys for the families. The School District recognizes the importance of Miss Ruby’s Kids. It’s a very well respected program in Georgetown County and it’s needed. I know that it’s very effective,” said Executive Director Kristen Laga.

Statistics provided on the website state that low income families usually have only one children’s book in the home compared to the average higher income families that usually have about 54.

Statistics from Miss Ruby’s Kids show that 2-year-olds who entered the program in 2013 scored in the 29th percentile compared to other two year olds in a standardized language development test.

When they graduated in 2015, they scored in the 57th percentile compared to other 4-year-olds.

The organization bills the Garden Party as an elegant afternoon filled with Southern charm that brings together educators, community leaders, civic-minded corporations and philanthropists in the effort of growing Miss Ruby’s Kids. The event features “big hats, great food and exciting and unique auction items.”

Georgetown’s Kevin Jayroe will be the emcee. The Kaminski House Museum is at 1003 Front Street in Georgetown.

Garden Party tickets are $100 per person and include a guided tour of the Kaminski House museum. For more about Miss Ruby’s Kids, Garden Party tickets, contact information, sponsorships, contributions, to volunteer or participate, visit www.missrubyskids or call 436-7197.

Peggy Mishoe, pegmish@sccoast.net, 365-3885.

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