Grand Strand business “provides the joy” for local youth in need
At DG Golf Management, which manages acclaimed local golf courses Man O’ War, The Witch and The Wizard, community comes first. Through the company’s charitable fund, The Pardue Children in Need Fund, at Waccamaw Community Foundation, Claude Pardue – President and CEO of DG Golf Management – and his employees gives back to uplift local youth in need.
Business may be Claude’s love, but his equal passion for kids drives the focus for DG Golf Management’s fund. It frustrated Claude to see ads for animal abuse and billions of dollars to support youth overseas when there was – and is – clear need for local kids right here on the Grand Strand. So, after his own kids left home for work and college, Claude started up the Pardue Children in Need Fund in 2004 so he and his employees could directly support disadvantaged kids in residential care facilities.
Claude first became familiar with youth issues at the Lighthouse Care Center of Conway, where he talked to staff about the challenges their residential youth face, like abuse and neglect. The care facility, though doing the best it could, often lacked the resources to provide opportunities for fun, creativity, sports and educational support. As a result, the residential youth often built “walls” to block out the institutional environment.
“We provide the joy,” Claude explained. Financial support from the Pardue Children in Need Fund helps Lighthouse Care Center and other local facilities bring their kids to the movies, visit the State Fair, attend sports games and more. For example, every year at Christmas, the Fund buys kids at beneficiary facilities a new pair of shoes, and last year, it raised enough money to give away 190 pairs.
Funds help improve the kids’ everyday life with the leadership of employees at DG Golf Management. The company’s three pros – Graham Williams, Randy Broughton and Tim Sautter – host golf clinics every Monday during the summer for the kids, an idea they came up with themselves. The pros also volunteer their time to fundraise for the annual golf tournament. Elwin Miles, a DG employee, works hard on that tournament as well and coordinates movie nights.
Waccamaw Youth Center used to have a terribly out of shape baseball field, so Andy Apple, a DG Golf Management employee who noticed the problem after meeting with the Center’s Director, volunteered his time to fix up the field. Afterwards, Claude took kids from the center to buy baseball bats, catcher’s mitts and other equipment so they could play sports, be outside and get regular exercise. At Waccamaw Youth Center, the Fund started paying for full-time after school tutors two years ago, and the results are amazing. Last year, ever kid at the center passed their grade in high school, and five even made honor roll.
Community support is strong for the Pardue Children in Need Fund, but there is always more to do. Local businesses often give in-kind donations or discounts on their products to get involved, and Claude and his employees hosts multiple fundraisers each year. Every dollar raised goes directly to helping youth.
Today, the Fund has grown to support 200+ kids annually, but with more than 1,000 kids in residential centers across South Carolina, the Fund’s goal is clear: to help every single child have a happier, healthier and more successful childhood.
Photo Credit: Waccamaw Youth Center.