A bit of a soggy start to the Rome Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth’s 26th Annual Swing Fore Kids Golf Classic did not deter supporters from holding firm in their commitment to hit the links at Stonebridge Golf Course and tee off for a good cause.

The normal 18-team cap was stretched to accommodate 22 teams, making this year’s contest the most this tournament has hosted. Local businesses, universities and other agencies across the county joined for a day of friendly competitive banter.

“All of the proceeds ... will support our efforts throughout the year,” said Matthew Peer, who served as president of the organization last year. “It will help to offset the cost of the Floyd County Teen Maze, fund the grants we are able to offer nonprofit organizations in our community, and other programs and events that support children and teens.”

Many of those programs focus on literacy, child abuse prevention and the RFCCCY goal of reducing neglect in homes. Adoption and foster care opportunities also are among its initiatives.

Both of his parents were civil servants and Peer, a Darlington School educator, said giving back to the community has always been important to his family.

“Knowing that our community has huge needs, especially when we look at foster care and adoption, I have been fortunate to work with this great board to make sure we are providing opportunities for students,” he said in welcoming the teams. “Not all children have the advantages others have, so pulling together as leaders in our community is vital to their success. We have to take care of the future of our country.”

He praised the work of Carol Willis, who had been the executive director for over a decade, and said her successor, LaDonna Collins, is expanding their outreach.

“She is spectacular and amazing for us. She has been able to change our trajectory and we are doing great as an organization,” Peer said. “LaDonna has really increased our presence not only in our community but statewide through the Georgia Family Connection Partnership.”

He noted that Collins was able to secure $200,000 — $100,000 a year for two years — in grants that will help children in the 15 counties of Northwest Georgia.

“That is huge for us, and she has been the point person on that project,” said Peer.

Peer also mentioned the partnership with Ball Corp. that helped the RFCCY provide beds for families in need and Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

“Carol started that program. Asking someone for a bed can be hard for a parent to do. Carol, and now LaDonna, have been able to identify families who may need mattresses or bedding. So, we are happy knowing we are helping a child to get a good night’s sleep,” Peer said.

Collins said that due to the amount of interest in the tournament, Stonebridge GM Patrick Kirn helped her accommodate the extra teams.

Harbin Clinic provided the tents and their senior director of marketing, Sarah Tuck, participated in the women’s golf clinic led by Ken Bishop, a golf instructor at Stonebridge.

Tuck said they’ve added a fun twist to their fundraiser. “Get Pump’d for Kids” is the sale of pumpkin-themed yard signs and Halloween treats. The buyer places the sign in a friend’s yard and leave the treat on their doorstep.

“For every sign purchased, we will also make a delivery to a foster child, as well,” Tuck said. “This is a great way to celebrate Halloween with a socially distant approach. Our hope is to spread some Halloween cheer and raise some money for children.”

Winning teams of the 26th Annual Swing Fore Kids Tournament are as follows:

First Place: Rome Industrial Cleaning

Second Place: Team Hooper (Captain, Dr. Heath Hooper)

Third Place: United Community Bank

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