The Vineyards CRO (Cliffs Residents Outreach) Focus is literacy, health, wellness and education for the children of Pickens County and nearby communities. We aim to remove barriers so every child has an opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Removing barriers so every child has an opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have something wonderful to share with you.

In anticipation of our upcoming Cliffs Residents Outreach fundraising event and celebration, Vineyards Royale, we are excited to present a short video about the Young Appalachian Musicians program. This is just one of the many projects your CRO helps to sponsor in local schools, and just one of the many ways in which meaningful differences are being made in our community, and in the lives of those who share it with us.

Your participation makes this possible.

Thank you!

What’s New

Exciting news for Pickens County Schools! Keowee Vineyards CRO and Springs CRO partnered to help purchase a new Science and Technology Bus that will be serving all of the Pickens County Schools once it is newly “wrapped” and filled with modern equipment. CRO is dedicated to help fund these life changing tools for area children.


Our CRO Vineyards Royale event is coming soon!! Make sure to get your tickets before they sell out!  We hope you will join us at this grand event. Our silent auction bidding starts on May 20th!

Just a sneak preview of a few items that will be featured at our
Silent and Live portions of the evening…

A Hamptons Getaway for five nights, for 10 guests.

A week at a spectacular villa in Costa Rica for up to 14 guests.

A “Docktails” Cruise for 10, followed by a Sunset Dinner at a spectacular Lakefront home.

Framed art featuring artists from our local schools.

A two night stay with dinner at the Skyline Lodge in Highlands.

A Fabulous Black Diamond necklace.

Wine, gift cards… and so much more!

Your CRO Council at work:
Rob Ackley
John Adams
Stephanie Cookson
Cathy Davis
Barry Franklin
Susie Stangroom
Ken Michaels
Jeanette McCarthy
Rebecca McNichols
Sandi McPhetridge
Abby Posner
Dave Posner
Paula Nesbitt
Lori Primasing
Brenda Schultz
Chris Wilde
Laurelle Williams

Co-Chairs: Rebecca McNichols, Brenda Schultz
Auction & Fundraising Chair: Lori Primasing
Decorations Chair: Margaret Marmot
Food & Beverage Chair: Stephanie Cookson
Contributions Chair: Jeanette McCarthy
Corporate Sponsor Chair: Laurelle Williams

Our Programs

Student and Family Emergency Assistance

Our Council believes it is vital to financially assist the families in our schools facing immediate crisis. If not for these funds (currently allocated to Pickens Elementary School, Hagood Elementary School, Pickens Middle School and Pickens High School), students may literally be without a home, medical treatment, food, clothing or other basic needs. School leadership is given a documentation process to allocate emergency funds to students or their families with immediate need.

Public School Support

The Keowee Vineyards CRO supports the four primary schools in the city of Pickens. Each school is assigned a Vineyards CRO volunteer liaison working as a representative between the Keowee Vineyards CRO Council chairperson and the school’s leadership. This direct communication keeps us keenly aware of what is happening as each school creates a new partnership we value and will continue to nurture.

School Liaisons (standing) Ken Michaels, Rebecca McNichols, Char Burgner, (sitting) Abby and Dave Posner. Sandi McPhetridge,


CRO Vineyards Volunteers read Dr. Seuss books in each of the twenty-seven classrooms to students at Hagood Elementary School in Pickens.  This event celebrates Read Across America Week and the birthday of the spectacular children’s author, Dr. Seuss, on Friday, March 8th. Books were provided by the school.  Present were: Natalie Godown-Cook, Louis Brand, Deb DeSalle, Ken Michaels, Dave Harker, Paula Nesbitt, Chris Wilde, Lori Primasing.


Ten CRO Vineyards volunteers delivered gift-wrapped books to students in twenty-three classrooms at Pickens Elementary School.  We read the book “Finding Gobi” to the students.   CRO Vineyards provides funding and volunteers for this program (books, art & writing contests, author visits, fun run, etc.) through our “One School-One Book” program.

The Level of books given are in relation to the child’s age/grade.

Pickens Elementary Schools New Climbing Wall has arrived!

CRO Vineyards is happy to have sponsored this wall for growing young elementary children in Physical Education class.

Pickens Middle School

Pickens Middle School was awarded grant funding to support the students and teacher’s needs in the Robotics Club, Video Editing Club, Drone Club, Graphic Design Club and Home Economics Club.

Paula Nesbitt (center) delivers check to Pickens Middle School Principal James King shown with middle school students.

Pickens High School (PHS)

The Keowee Vineyards CRO was a platinum sponsor for the Pickens High School Marching Band program and supported them during the competition season. Among many awards received, the PHS Band placed First and were Grand Champions at the Chesnee Eagle Classic; they swept all awards at this event. In the 3A Upperstate Championship they placed second with the highest Pickens Marching Band score on record. At season end, they placed 4th in 3A for the State of South Carolina with a superior rating. A truly successful season and we have been proud to support their music and diligent hard work.

Doug Moore, PHS Band Booster President (L) and PHS Band Director David Richards (R) with Rebecca Craig McNichols.

Holly Springs Preschool

Holly Springs Preschool is a privately-operated school open for 2k, 3k and 4k children in Pickens, Oconee and Greenville Counties. This was a Pickens County public school and the first school to be supported by the KV CRO. The school is no longer funded by the SDPC, and they have financial need for operating structures and grounds. We have recently funded a basic playground piece of equipment.

(L to R) Julie Fayssoux Director of First Baptist Day School, Jen McKittrick, Co-Director of Holly Springs Day School, Traci Boyles Executive Director of Early Childhood Education SDPC, Laurelle Williams KV CRO Advisory Council Member.

Pickens Career and Tech Center (PCTC)

Thanks to your donations, PCTC has a new brake/lathe system and a transport trailer.  The brake/lathe systems will be used in their mechanics and automotive training classes.  The transport trailer will enable them to begin to take their programs down to the middle school level!  We are amazed at the great work they are doing with their 1,700 high school students from across Pickens County.

Early Childhood Literacy Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Now Available in Pickens County!

KV CRO Advisory Council member Rob Ackley (3rd from left) working hard to provide access to DPIL.

Vineyards CRO started with a 40 child pilot program at the Holly Springs preschool 18 months ago, and now ALL of Pickens County is sponsored (6,300 children under 5 years of age). Over 3,000 children are registered and receive books monthly to their homes.

Young Appalachian Musicians (YAMS) Instrumental

(Available at Pickens Elementary and Hagood Elementary Schools)
While the Pickens County School District does not offer a full instrumental music program at the elementary level, the schools make their facilities available to Young Appalachian Musicians. We financially support this musical and educational program to introduce children to the music of the local heritage in Upstate South Carolina through small group instruction with instruments including fiddles/violins, guitars, banjos and mandolins. Research shows that instrumental music training “fires up” the brain circuitry that is also used in languages and math.  The YAMS students performed at our June 2023 fundraiser with beautiful music and young talent.

Introducing children to the music of the local heritage in Upstate South Carolina.

Pickens Middle & High School Robotics Club

Building on the success of last year’s 7th grade team that qualified for the World Competition, CRO asked the Robotics Club teacher what she needed to expand and grow participation.  She provided us with a list of technology items from robotics kits to GPS technology that would enable participants to develop higher level programming skills and allow more students to join.  CRO provided funds to purchase the new technology.  The Robotics Club teacher has used the older technology to expand robotics learning to 6th graders. 

Camp I-Rock

This is the Keowee Vineyards CRO’s fourth year supporting a special, local initiative to help struggling elementary aged students in Pickens County learn to read. Our support has helped 1,374 students by providing a free summer remedial reading instruction and camp experience. In the summer of 2024, our donation will help 520 students improve their reading skills

Camp I-Rock – Oh, the places they will go!

Tamassee Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) School

The After School and Summer Program at Tamassee DAR serves elementary and middle-school students from the surrounding community and from the Starlight Program housed on their campus. This program offers a safe, healing, loving and learning environment for mothers to bond with their children and begin their recovery journey from addictions and/or volatile environments. Classes in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classroom are small and achieve individualized instruction. The goal is for them to have their own robotics team to compete in South Carolina and beyond. This classroom is being named in honor of the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards CRO in 2023-24.

Stephanie Cookson (R) KV CRO Advisory Council Member hand delivers a check to Jon Holland CEO of Tamassee DAR School.

Jack Lewis Watershed Scholarships

Jack Lewis was a beloved member of the Vineyards community and a twenty year volunteer with Friends of Lake Keowee Society, a 501(c)3 dedicated to preservation and conservation of our beautiful Lake Keowee and watershed. Jack was a past President of FOLKS and recently they named a scholarship in his honor. The Jack Lewis Watershed Stewardship Scholarship is awarded to high school students who show a strong interest in natural resource conservation and the environment.)


Farewell Appreciation

Thank you to our outgoing Vineyards CRO Chair and Co-Chair JeanAnn and Dick Bollman for their service.  They were gifted a painting by Laurelle Williams of their view of the lake at our farewell get together.

Jean Ann and Dick Bollman with Laurelle Williams (center)

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 services, and join us in thanking them for their commitment to our mission!

Our Corporate Partners Make a Difference.

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

Advisory Council

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