Links for Literacy: Charity golf tournament raises funds for The Link of Cullman County’s literacy programs

Cullman Tribune file photo

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Link of Cullman County on Monday welcomed 25 teams of golfers, from old hands to first-timers, to Terri Pines Country Club for the organization’s annual Links for Literacy charity golf tournament. 

The Link’s Melissa Betts explained, “This supports all of our literacy programs, including our financial literacy programs. We have literacy programs in the elementary schools for school children, those who are at risk. We send mentors into the schools and help engage them in literacy activities and reading. We also have the financial literacy called “Wise Up” for ninth and 12th graders; that’s also across the county in county schools, where we teach financial literacy. These are ways that we feel like, if you are able to have those literacy skills and those financial literacy skills, then it helps you not fall into some of the traps that poverty mentality can send you. 

“This is our biggest fundraiser; it might end up being our only fundraiser this year, because of COVID. We have three scheduled for the spring, so this is really important for us today, to be able to have this tournament, and we’re hoping that this’ll end up sponsoring those literacy programs for the rest of the year into next year.”

The Link’s Director Julie Hall told The Tribune during a rainy lunch break, “We’re really excited! We had a great flight this morning; had a couple of teams that went out this morning, and they did well and had a good time. We can’t wait for the second bunch to get kicked off.”

Hall took a moment to brag on her event staff, sharing, “We have had such a great turnout for volunteers. We’ve got Miss Wallace State here, we have some of our OTA students here volunteering, we have our work study students here working with us, so we really have a lot of support today. We have longtime volunteers- a couple of those- and we have some of our board members here, so we’re really excited that everybody showed out to support this event.”

Rumors Deli was an event sponsor, providing meals for golfers and volunteers through funding provided by Dr. Ginger Holt. Deli owner Annette Harris even fielded a team, taking to the course for the first time herself. While her performance did not qualify her for the pro tour, she still had good things to say.

According to Harris, “It was great! I learned a lot of golf terms: ‘Mulligan’- I learned that, I learned ‘slice,’ ‘divot.’ I’ve never set foot on a golf course before today. John Daly: I learned about that guy the first nine, actually. We played the John Daly method! I had a little move that I invented today, called the Jesus ball, where my ball walked on water and hit the green! But no, we had a lot of fun . . . We had a fun team. It started raining on us a little bit, but it was really a good time, and it was about raising money for The Link.”

Harris said that she would like to do it again.

Hearing about what the money does

Nancy McKenzie teaches adult literacy for The Link, in one of the programs funded by the tournament. She said that, through the work she does, “I’ve seen a confidence, that they realize that if they learn to read better, their life will be better.”

Yvonne Krenkel teaches a free kindergarten readiness program every summer, and shared, “We see children that can’t even hold their pencil and don’t know their colors or anything, don’t know how to stand in a straight line. And just in two weeks’ time, it’s a transformation of holding your pencil, knowing things, knowing how to stand in a line and be quiet.”

Trae Norrell, chairman of The Link’s board, talked about The Link:

“As a pastor and someone just living in this community, I was definitely drawn by the mission of this organization, meeting people exactly where they are, fighting poverty. And really, what our mission is about is meeting people where they are and showing them something larger than themselves. For me, what brought me here was really just the people, from an organizational standpoint, but also from the people- our neighbors- that we have the opportunity to serve. That, really, is the overall reach of what The Link does, and what draws me.”

Learn more about The Link of Cullman County at

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W.C. Mann