Keowee Springs

Cliffs Residents Outreach (CRO) provides resources and funding for student-centered projects designed to support lifelong success for local children, many of whom are economically and socially challenged. Funded by Cliffs property owners and corporate sponsors and managed by a resident council of volunteers, Cliffs Residents Outreach is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Each Cliffs community has its own chapter and operates independently. Keowee Springs CRO supports Six Mile Elementary, Central Academy of the Arts Magnet Elementary, R.C. Edwards Middle and D.W. Daniel High Schools and their 3,000 students. The Springs CRO enlists Keowee Springs volunteers to engage in fundraising, mentoring and tutoring activities.

Overview

Fundraising activities are conducted by the Springs CRO Advisory Council year-round. These include special golf events, wine dinners, an annual cash campaign and an online silent auction. In the 2023-2024 school year, Springs CRO approved $147,100 to fund worthy educational projects. Projects include: the purchase of library books, media, library furniture, instructional software, computer technology, music and art supplies, funding for a mobile Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) lab, career counseling, swim lessons, two types of high school scholarships, student grief counseling and more.

 

Volunteer mentoring and tutoring are a significant portion of the value Springs CRO provides to the community. To date, Springs CRO has recruited 51 residents as mentors who help students to reach their potential in elementary, middle and high school. Academic tutoring was reactivated in the 2022-23 fiscal school year. Academic tutoring has focused on reading and math but was expanded to other areas of study at R.C. Edwards Middle and D.W. Daniel High School. CRO has enlisted 62 tutors and general volunteers to help with needs that arise throughout the year and continues to look for more help!

News

2023 Springs CRO Auction and Cash Campaign

Our 2023 Springs CRO Auction and Cash Campaign was a resounding success, more than doubling our revenues from last year! Thanks to all the donors, our corporate partners, auction bidders, live auction event attendees and Springs club staff who participated in this effort.  Auction proceeds net of event expenses totaled $141,424, a 127% increase over last year’s auction revenue.

The children and young adults of Six Mile Elementary, Central Academy of the Arts Magnet Elementary, R.C. Edwards Middle and D.W. Daniel High School will benefit greatly because of your generosity!

Springs CRO Invests in new Mobile STEM Lab for Pickens County

Springs CRO is partnering with Vineyards CRO in funding a new Mobile STEM Lab that will service Pickens County schools.  The project is being led by the School District of Pickens County (SDPC) with support from Clemson University and Duke Energy.  

It is one of several initiatives on the part of SDPC to drive innovation in the field of technology.
To date, SDPC has acquired a pre-owned bus from Clemson University.  It now bears new tags and registration.  The bus is in the process of being retrofitted with a new design wrap that includes the logos of investing partners.  The next phase will include installation of hands-on tech equipment. The target date for completion is Fall of 2024.

Springs CRO Funds New Batting Cage for Six Mile Softball

The 2023 Auction Fundraiser allowed Springs CRO to fund the purchase of a softball batting cage on behalf of the Six Mile Recreation Department, that provides recreation and sports programs for local youth and maintains Ponderosa Park where practices and games are conducted.

The idea behind this project was to give the softball program their own batting cage near their field, allowing coaches and teams to be closer to their players’ training practices. The cage means the team no longer has to share with the baseball program, and therefore, has more training opportunities to develop their hitting skills.

Springs CRO Increases Access to Youth Mental Health Services

In November 2023, Springs CRO Volunteer Coordinators Jane Weddington and Patty Stephens arranged for a special training session for mentors on Youth Mental Health Training.  The two-hour session at the Springs Clubhouse was led by Robyn Ellison, a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructor and an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) trainer. The presentation focused on identifying warning signs of mental crisis and what mentors should do if they observe any of these in their mentees.

When school resumes in Fall 2024, Springs CRO plans for Robyn to lead three to four positive mental health-related sessions for a small group of girls at R.C. Edwards and D.W. Daniel. Content will be age-appropriate. A female team of school counselors and administrators will oversee the program and evaluate the results.

D.W. Daniel Career Cafe Features Springs Residents

Springs CRO has developed a new career program for DWD students called “Career Café”.  This program offers eight sessions and provides students with visions of possible careers to help their academic focus. Working with the school Career Counselor, Keowee Springs volunteers develop and deliver lunch-time programs exposing students to different careers.  Keowee Springs residents like Derek Lunka and Erin Dougherty have been featured speakers at these events. 

D.W. Daniel Receives Assistance with Book Classification

Springs CRO volunteers have been assisting D.W. Daniel’s Director of Media Services in updating and relabeling all the books in their library under a genres classification, rather than by the Dewey Decimal System. This effort will help students easily locate the types of books they want to read.

Springs CRO Supports D.W. Daniel Monthly Grief Group

Springs CRO funds simple lunches for roughly 15 D.W. Daniel students who have lost family members recently or faced other traumatic events. Meetings are organized and led by a teacher and attended by school Counselors, along with school district specialists and outside counselors.

School Volunteer Participation is Increasing!

Springs CRO​’s March, 2023 Mentoring and Tutoring Open House received robust attendance, thanks to the organizing efforts of Patricia Lunsford Stephens and Jane Weddington.​ Participants heard from school and YMCA representatives about community needs, and listened to the experiences of current mentors and volunteers who support our local schools.​ As a result, the event generated 15 new mentors, tutors and volunteers, bringing our collective Springs CRO volunteer base to over 100 members!

R.C. Edwards Media Center Receives an Upgrade

Springs CRO continues to fund the purchase of books of high interest as well as furniture for RCE Middle School’s Media Center. ​ High-interest titles, new authors and award-winning books have been added and displayed to encourage reading. This approach enables the Media Center to continue to operate as a hub of activity for the school, creating regular patrons and discerning readers.

Volunteers Support Central Academy’s Reading Program

Springs CRO continues to lend financial and volunteer help to Central Academy of the Arts to upgrade its library collection and encourage student reading. Volunteers assist the media specialist in completing tasks to update the book selection, such as pulling books from the shelves and removing labels.  They also listen to and assist students reading aloud to them.

Six Mile Elementary and R.C. Edwards Middle School have nature trails on their properties that they wanted to use, but the trails were overgrown and needed to be cleared. Springs CRO volunteers worked alongside Clemson students to trim leaves and remove limbs to increase visibility and walking space so that the trails could be used for educational purposes. It’s inspiring to see nature-based education flourish in our community!

Springs Volunteers Clear Schools’ Nature Trails

Six Mile Elementary Benefits from New Academic Resources

This year, Springs CRO provided Chromebooks to assist elementary students with current learning processes. CRO also purchased a “Classroom Alive Zookeeper 3D Program” for K-4, a zoo-themed learning experience where zoo animals interact with students as they learn the foundations for reading, writing, and math.

Springs CRO Upgrades Six Mile Elementary's Media Center

One of Springs CRO’s primary goals is to promote literacy by upgrading library materials in each of its four focus schools. At Six Mile Elementary, CRO has purchased new titles not only in the Media Center, but also for the STEM Lab and the new K3 classrooms. These titles enhance students’ understanding of the human body, plumbing, electrical systems, fairy tales, folk tales and biographies.

Our Programs

Six Mile Elementary School

Reading Materials – Students received new titles not only in the Media Center, but also for the STEM Lab and the new K3 classrooms, enhancing their understanding of the human body, plumbing, electrical systems, fairy tales, folk tales, and biographies.

Music – Springs CRO funded a cart to store and transport musical instruments.

Art– Springs CRO funded supplies for all future Picassos, Klimts, Monets, Warhols and Pollocks.

Academic resources – Springs CRO provided Chromebooks to assist students with current learning processes. It also purchased a Classroom Alive Zookeeper 3D program for K-4, a zoo-themed learning experience where zoo animals interact with students as they learn the foundations for reading, writing, and math.

CRO continues to donate money to supplement teacher supplies and fund special projects.

Central Academy of the Arts (magnet elementary school)

Reading Materials – The school’s Media Center, which was rated below ‘At Risk’, was transformed with the addition of hundreds of new books and the elimination of old titles. These were culled from the collection by a group of Keowee Springs resident volunteers. The acquisition of new books is an effort to create lifelong learners and to begin raise the level of the Media Center to “Basic”.

Swimming Lessons – With funding from Springs CRO, all of the 2nd grade students, along with many of the Special Education students, learned to swim during a series of weekly lessons at the Central Rec pool.

R. C. Edwards Middle School

Media Center – Books of high interest and furniture-enhancing the display of high-interest titles, new authors and award winning books were added to the Media Center so that it will continue to operate as a hub of activity for the school, creating regular patrons and discerning readers.

 

Instructional Software – CRO funded licenses for software that enables and enhances student learning in both remote and in-class settings.

D.W. Daniel High School

Earned Scholarship Program – Springs CRO funds cumulative scholarships for cohorts of incoming 9th grade students assessed as “at risk” to complete high school. The scholarships provide a near-term focus and incentive toward the longer-term goal of graduation. Students are identified by the R.C. Edwards administration and counseling team and discussed with D.W. Daniel cohorts. Placed in one homeroom under the supervision of a dedicated counselor or teacher, these roughly 20 students per cohort earn scholarship credits weekly for attendance, behavior, academic progress, etc. in $5 and $10 amounts. Credits accumulate for their eventual use upon graduation for post-secondary education and/or career certification and have the potential to represent as much as $2,000 for graduating seniors.

Graduate Scholarships – Springs CRO has allotted $20,000 in scholarships to select graduating seniors, enabling them to start post-secondary education/certifications. Most of the recipients are the first in their families to graduate from high school or to go to college.

Monthly Grief Group – CRO funds fast food lunches for roughly 15 students who have lost family members recently or faced other traumatic events.  Meetings are organized and led by a teacher and attended by school Counselors, along with school district specialists and outside counselors.

College Application Day event – Pizzas provided by CRO enticed a record number of students to complete college applications.  Counselors, teachers and volunteers were there to assist students with their applications.

Elementary After-School Program – Springs CRO provides funds for Six Mile Elementary students to attend an after-school program intended to produce a positive vision of D.W. Daniel High School, which they will eventually attend.

Career Cafe – Fueled by the belief that visions of possible careers should enhance students’ academic focus in the present, Springs CRO developed a new career program for DWD students. Working with the school Career Counselor, Keowee Springs volunteers developed and delivered lunch-time programs exposing students to different careers. Keowee Springs residents were the featured speakers at these events. Given its success, the school expanded the program to eight sessions in 2023-2024.

 

Media Center – CRO purchased books and Maker Space boxes to upgrade the library offerings for specific class and teacher needs.

All Schools – Gift cards for use by Principals and school nurses, at their discretion, for an array of student needs, including personal hygiene and essential clothing items

Mentoring, Tutoring and Volunteering

Mentoring – The Springs CRO Mentoring Program grew from 25 to 45 trained and approved mentors during the 2022-2023 school year, representing a 90% annual increase. The goal is to have 50 trained and active mentors by the end of the school year 2023–2024. The Springs community continues to have the largest number of active mentors across all the Cliffs communities and throughout the Pickens/Powdersville/Anderson YMCA. Nominated by the YMCA, The Springs CRO Mentoring Program was awarded the 2023 SC Governor’s Volunteer Award for Group or Family Service. Springs CRO was also selected for the YMCA Mentor 2022–2023 Synergistic Partner Award.

  • SME, RCE, and DWD all have trained mentor directors. They have also added administrative staff to continue growing their mentoring programs.
  • The schools have dedicated meeting places or classrooms to allow mentors and their kids to meet and talk one-on-one.

Watch the Springs CRO mentoring video

For more information about volunteering or mentoring, please contact Jane Weddington

Tutoring and Volunteering

  • The Springs Tutoring and Volunteering Program was active throughout the school year, meeting with kids at both Six Mile Elementary and RC Edwards multiple times per week and volunteering for various other needs as requested by the schools.
  • The program added Central Academy of The Arts to our volunteer program this year.
  • Our Tutoring and Volunteering Programs will support all the schools again during the 2023-2024 school year. We currently have 8 tutors and 30 to 35 volunteers (some are also mentors). Volunteers support the schools by responding to requests from the schools throughout the year. We currently have 30 to 35 volunteers, including many mentors that also support the schools by volunteering as requested by each school throughout the year. Additional Springs community members are getting involved as they become familiar with the CRO and its in-school programs via our ongoing social media updates, CRO in-person informational sessions, and one-on-one meetings with new members.
Presenting Corporate Partner

CRO is grateful for the ongoing generous support of our Corporate Partners which plays an important part in reaching our goals. Please support them if you are in need of their goods or join us in thanking them for their commitment to our mission!

Our Corporate Partners Make a Difference.

PLATINUM LEVEL
BRONZE LEVEL
For information about becoming a Corporate Partner, please contact Scott Wallace

Advisory Council

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