Coastal Community Foundation Grant benefits Boys & Girls Club, Bridges Prep School

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

On Friday, June 28 the Coastal Community Foundation presented two $25,000 checks to Board members and staff of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry and Bridges Preparatory School as part of a collaborative grant to fund the Learning Center of Beaufort County at the Boundary Street location. Both organizations matched the grant and will implement the Learning Center under the umbrella of their established curriculums during and after school.

The Coastal Community Foundation’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life in Beaufort County by supporting the network of non-profits that serve our community.

Edna Crews, Regional Vice President of the Coastal Community Foundation, supports and encourages the collaboration of nonprofits to seek grants.

From left: Joe Mix, Chris Protz, Melesia Walden, D.C. Gilley, Edna Crews, Malcolm Goodridge, Laura McAlhaney and Kim Durham.
From left: Joe Mix, Chris Protz, Melesia Walden, D.C. Gilley, Edna Crews, Malcolm Goodridge, Laura McAlhaney and Kim Durham.

“Our job is to facilitate relationships in order to evaluate and approve grants. This collaboration between the Boys and Girls Club, Bridges Preparatory School and The Learning Center of Beaufort County is a win-win. Additionally, we have an obligation to continue to provide this fund for The Learning Center of Beaufort in perpetuity. It will always be here,” explains Crews.

The Boys & Girls Club’s Executive Director, Chris Protz, is excited about the new endeavor.

“This opportunity will help our students stay on track to graduate from their respective grades, therefore graduating on time from high school. The money from this grant will help us hire a certified teacher specifically for this position,” explains Protz.

Joe Mix, the founder of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lowcountry agrees.

“This program will serve a real need for our after school program. We appreciate the foundation awarding us this important grant,” says Mix.

The Learning Center of Beaufort will offer students the chance to fully engage in a meaningful learning process, effectively utilize their distinctive learning styles and productively pursue ongoing academic achievement. And most importantly, The Learning Center will be available to every child in Beaufort County at a variety of locations.

All too often, children who possess an alternative to the verbal learning style get frustrated with mainstream teaching methods and abandon their will to learn. Students become apathetic; but, it’s not their fault. They just learn differently than most. The misunderstanding begins when many people can’t figure out why an intelligent person can’t read at their expected level. The mistreating begins when students are simply encouraged to “try harder.”

Malcolm Goodridge, founder and benefactor of The Learning Center of Beaufort County, understands this frustration. He is dyslexic. But he says his dyslexia is his greatest asset.

Goodridge remembers growing up and being called a “dummy” all the way through school. He took remedial reading classes to assist him, but they didn’t help much. He fought hard through school to overcome his learning disability, eventually going on to a distinguished career as a senior executive with American Express. Now retired, he thanks his struggle with dyslexia for his continued ambition toward success.

“I think that if I was a normal kid, I wouldn’t have the drive for success that I have now. I was pushed down so far, I had to figure out a way to survive,” says Goodridge.

Melesia Walden, Principal of Bridges Preparatory School, appreciates Goodridge’s outreach to the community and adds, “I’d like to recognize Malcolm’s generosity and his wisdom for asking our organizations to match funds. This partnership will allow us to help students in need during the academic day and after school.”

Laura McAlhaney, Coach for The Learning Center at Bridges, and Kim Durham, Treasurer of the Board at Bridges, will both have children attending the new charter school and added their thanks to Goodridge as well.

“Thank you for your passion of The Learning Center,” smiles Durham.

And from McAlhaney, “Thank you Malcolm for filtering so many children through the Learning Center and giving them the same opportunities you had to overcome challenges and be successful.”

D.C. Gilley, Board Member of the Coastal Community Foundation, agrees.

“It’s exciting to see this partnership become reality. This is a great day for Beaufort county children,” says Gilley.

In addition to Goodridge, the board of the Learning Center of Beaufort County consists of Charles Kresch, past President of the Beaufort County Board of Education and David House, Board member of Beaufort Memorial Hospital and AMIkids. For more information or to donate to the endowment, contact Edna Crews at edna@coastalcommunityfoundation.org or call 843-379-3400.

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