October 2014

THE DRIVE FOR LITERACY HITS THE LINKS : LOCAL NON-PROFITS ARE IN ALIGNMENT

Author: Kitty Bartell

There are times when it seems that life has an easy flow: traffic signals change to green before you have to hit the brakes, your tax refund is delivered the same day your refrigerator goes on the fritz, and you are introduced to the new golf pro in town just when it seemed your backswing had permanently become disconnected from your follow-through. The proverbial planets have aligned.

The Literacy Center (formerly Literacy Volunteers of the Lowcountry) and the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry are experiencing their own such alignment as they come together to host the First Annual Women’s Golf Outing at Island West Golf Club in Bluffton on October 27. The husband and wife dynamic duo of local non-profits, Jean Heyduck, executive director of The Literacy Center, and Chris Protz, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club, knew a collaboration to benefit both their organizations was meant to be when they learned that an opening at their home club of Island West was available for a benefit tournament.

Brown Golf Management, owner of Island West, along with Crescent Pointe, Eagles’s Pointe, and Pinecrest Golf Clubs, offers the use of each of their clubs once a year for a charitable event, including donating the greens fees and use of golf carts. This year’s inaugural event will be a 9-hole scramble; the $50 entry fee includes greens fees, cart, continental breakfast, use of the practice range, awards, buffet lunch, and prizes. The tournament and activities will begin at 9 a.m. and will wrap up with a 1 p.m. award ceremony and lunch—just the right amount of time to drop the children at school, or take a break from your usual routine, gather the girls and hit the links to benefit literacy throughout the Lowcountry and still make it back in the car pool line for pick-up.

The ability to read impacts not only the individual, but their family and community, and the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry is working to establish strong reading roots for their 2,200 members throughout their six locations. “We have started some early literacy programs at our clubs to reach the kids who are behind in reading. We are working closely with the schools that are near the clubs. They help us identify the first, second, and third graders that are scoring low. We targeted those members and invited them to participate in an early literacy program in connection with USCB. The results were fantastic. If they’re learning how to read, they won’t need The Literacy Center,” Protz said.

Serving over 600 adults annually, The Literacy Center addresses the needs of functionally illiterate adults ages 18 to 89-plus in Beaufort County. “The single most significant factor in the education of a child is the education level of the mother. If children are growing up in households where their parents aren’t reading to them, they start school already behind the eight-ball. Most kids go to kindergarten knowing their letters and numbers. They get that from their parents reading to them,” Heyduck said.

The Literacy Center offers basic literacy assistance, English language assistance for those who don’t speak fluent English, along with basic math skills. “We ask students what they want to accomplish. Some want citizenship, some want to start a business, some want a promotion, and some want to help their kids with their homework,” Heyduck said.

Although their missions are different, the two non-profits have one thing in common. Both are expecting that the planets and the putts will all be in alignment.

“For us, it’s catching them early so they can be successful,” Protz said.

“He’s trying to put us out of business,” Heyduck said. “But that’s okay.” 

For more information or to register for the event, contact Liz Vallino at lvallino@bgclowcountry.org or call (843) 379-5430, ext. 233. You may also visit theliteracycenter.org or bgclowcountry.org.

The Details
What: First Annual Women’s Golf Outing
When: October 27th, 2014
Where: Island West Golf Club -Bluffton, SC

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