Round and round for a good cause


Tabitha and Linley Bagwell enjoy a Ferris wheel ride during the Ferris Wheel Fundraiser in Cullman on Friday. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – Children and families came out Friday to the ride a 40-foot Ferris wheel and hear live music at the Ferris Wheel Fundraiser across from Berkeley Bob's Coffee House and Moe's Original BBQ in Cullman. The event was to support Fancher Education Center's Literacy and Lunch Program, which provides a two-week camp where kids are fed and learn to have a love of reading.

Michael Sapp, president of the Cullman Downtown Merchants Association and an organizer of the event spoke with The Tribune about the event.

“We've got a 40-foot Ferris wheel, we've got a booth set up, the Cotton Pickin Kids, and then we've got Microwave Dave coming up later,” said Sapp. “All the proceeds for the Ferris wheel go to the Literacy and Lunch Program that is being put on by Fancher Education. It's a really good program. It's all for a good cause.”

The Tribune spoke with Sapp early on in the event, but even so he said it had been successful so far.

“We just started, but already we've had a lot of positive results. We've had people that even didn't come to ride the Ferris wheel but just started writing checks,” Sapp explained. “We've got some donation boxes at the Downtown Grill, Busy Bee, Moe's, Berkeley Bob's and some of the other restaurants so they're taking up donations for that cause as well. They've already brought in a lot of money.”

Cherrelle Fancher, executive director of Fancher Education Center, was at the event as well and spoke to The Tribune about the Literacy and Lunch Program.

“We are raising money for the Literacy and Lunch Program for the summer and raising awareness of all the services we do offer for kids in Cullman. We do a lot more than people realize,” said Fancher. “For a lot of kids, programs like this are the deciding factor in whether or not they are going to be successful in the school year.”

Fancher added, “Our program is designed by me. I have special training for dyslexic students and students that struggle with reading because of learning disabilities and by my co-teacher who has her master's degree in urban education and lots of extra training. So kids who are not going to be served well in school, for whatever reason, we tend to be able to fill in that gap so they can go back and be successful in the classroom.”

Fancher also had some advice for anyone whose children might be struggling education-wise and is interested in any of the programs Fancher Educations has to offer.

“If somebody thinks they need help outside of school they need to come out to our open house that is July 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and see what we can help them with,” she said.

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