GREENVILLE — The ninth annual Karlh McCallister Memorial Golf Tournament was held Saturday in its continued effort to raise money in support of the Bridges to College program, which McCallister helped get off the ground in 2006.
The program, which encourages local students to pursue post-secondary education through the use of mentorship, programming and scholarships, originated through a Business Advisory Council that McCallister joined as owner of Hansbargers Home Solutions, according to his daughter Marlise who now owns the business and organizes the golf outing, which was held at Turtle Creek Golf Course.
“The success rate of kids going onto college from our community was not as high as other communities back then,” Marlise McCallister said. “That was something (dad) felt was not attracting people to the community and he wanted to get involved in how to improve that.”
From that an organization called Bridges to College was formed in 2006, she said. Karlh was very committed to helping kids go on to the next level.
“Whether it was to a four-year or two-year college or to a trade school, it was just a way to help them go on,” Marlise said. “After he passed away we started the golf outing and really we’re just focused on helping young people get to the next level.”
The golf outing is the programs main fundraiser. Since 2006, the program has mentored 1,785 students and 1,680 students and parents have attended programs on college financial aid. Since 2012, Bridges to College has provided college visits to 880 students, and since 2006, Bridges to College has provided a total of $100,000 in scholarships to 122 students.
“The college process has become so much more complicated and automated,” said Anne McKinney, executive director of Bridges to College. “Everything is done on the computer and it really takes all the steps to get them actually to be successful in completing the process.
“We do ACT prep because ACT scores are really the biggest way to get money for college,” she continued. “That’s been one of our biggest pushes to work on ACT scores to help kids get $15,000 to $20,000 a year from a school. We also do a lot of hands-on boot camps where we help the kids sit down at a computer and they can send their transcripts and fill out the FAFSA to get any financial aid. A lot of parents just don’t have the skill to do that. It’s not easy and that’s what I spend a lot of time doing.”
Bridges to College is partnered with Greenville, Ansonia and Franklin-Monroe high schools, according to McKinney, but the ACT prep is offered to all Darke County schools. There are nine $500 scholarships given out each year.
“We moved to Greenville when my dad was 30 years old and he was 67 when he died,” Marlise said. “So for almost 40 years he was just someone who was always behind the scenes trying to help make things happen.
“He was always very focused on how to make where we live a better place,” she continued. “I love Bridges to College and any time I can help a kid I will always help. It doesn’t matter where they come from because all kids need help. It takes a community to raise a child. I truly believe that and my dad was the same way. We just wanted to be able to make a difference. It’s an honor to have the golf outing and to have all these people here that knew him.”
Door prizes were given away as well as two Serta beds, a big screen television, a refrigerator and a washer and dryer. The low gross score winning team with a 59 was Mike Rieman, Christopher Fourman, Annika Karlsson and Dane Brinley. The low net winning team with a 53 was Rodney Oda, Mike Feitshans, Matt Arnold and Dan Esarey.