GRANITE CITY — On June 18, Coordinated Youth and Human Services in Granite City will do something it never has done in its 70 years of service — have a fundraiser.
The agency will have its first community golf scramble at Arlington Golf Course. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m. and a shotgun start begins at 1:15 p.m. There will be a four-player scramble in two flights and awards for first, second and third place.
“We were invited by United Way to go through a development training, so we did,” said Cindy Gavilsky, the organization’s executive director. “A board member, myself and another staff member knew that if we’re going to get through these uncertain times, we need to fundraise.”
The event is divided into six sponsorships — title sponsor, eagle sponsor, birdie sponsor, team of four, hole sponsor and individual golfer. The title sponsor is $2,000 for eight golfers and includes lunch and beverages, eight team photos, five tee signs and company name and logo recognition in all event publicity, print materials, signage and programs.
CYHS Board President Tom Schooley said 25 teams have signed up.
“It’s going to be a fun day to get people together to play golf and educate the public about what the agency actually does,” Schooley said.
Since 1946, CYHS has provided programs, facilities and trained personnel who can promote and conduct programs and services to meet the human service needs of youth and their families in the Granite City area and the rest of Madison County.
“Growing up in Granite City, I’ve always heard of coordinated youth,” Schooley said. “But until I got on the board, I really didn’t know what all of the programs we did.”
CYHS has four health services: Women, Infants and Children, Family Case Management, Healthy Families and HIV/AIDS and also provides educational services such as the Educational Enhancement Program.
Gavilsky said by having a golf scramble, people will get to know more about the organization.
“One of the main thrusts behind it was we needed to get out in the community and let the community know the great things this agency does,” she said. “We have not done a good job of tooting our own horn.”
Gavilsky has been working at CYHS since January 1986.
“Prior to that, I’ve done an internship when I was in college in 1975,” Gavilsky said. “My husband and I moved back here in 1985. I’ve been away for 14 years, so we decided to relocate our family near family. When I was in graduate school, a mentor said to me, ‘There’s some money coming down in alternative education. Would you help me write a grant for coordinated youth?’”
After writing the grant, Gavilsky got the job at the agency.
“I grew up with the agency,” Gavilsky said. “We’ve grown it and one of my dreams at that time was to have our own school and we have it with a gym and it’s a beautiful facility. One of the things that I can’t say enough as a common thread for coordinated youth is we have the best board in the world. They have fabulous thinkers, they are visionaries and they are always there for us.”
The board of directors includes Schooley, Vice President Kathy Clark-Eller, Treasurer Cullen Cullen, Secretary Jim Greenwald and 11 members.
“This is a testimony on how good they are,” Gavilsky said. “A year ago, when we knew we had to make some tough decisions in laying off people, they said, ‘You can look at this as an opportunity or a threat. What are you going to do?’ They said that to Mr. (John) Coleman (assistant director), myself and our finance director, Kathy Sigmund. We said, ‘That’s easy. We’re going to look at this as an opportunity and we adopted our theme for the year, ‘Go and grow.’ You can’t sit here and look back. You’ve got to figure out a way to grow. We adopted that mentality and it served us very well.”
One of the board members, Ray Romine, came up with the idea of having a golf scramble for the agency’s first fundraiser. Romine, a retired firefighter, is an employee at Arlington Golf Course.
“Ray has been instrumental in putting together and securing the golf course and giving tremendous information to Cindy and her staff and putting the nuts and bolts of what it takes to put on a successful golf scramble,” Schooley said.
CYHS has three locations: its main location at 2016 Madison Ave., River’s Edge School at 1611 W. Third St. and a facility in Wood River.
The agency is a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
“That’s a big partner with us that we’re very grateful to,” Gavilsky said. “They helped us out a lot through the years.”
Gavilsky said the agency went through tough times, laying off 21 employees since last year and losing $1 million in funding.
“We’re 110 employees last year at this time,” Gavilsky said. “We’re 75 strong right now. We’re going to get through this and we managed our money well. We’ve persevered. We lost some programs, but the programs that we have are still our core programs. We stayed true to our mission and that is to meet the ever-changing needs of the community.”
CYHS plans to do one special event each month this year. In February, the agency began its 70th anniversary celebration with a birthday party. In May, the agency had an employee county fair. In July, it will be recognized by the Madison County Board.
Gavilsky said she’s thrilled the organization is still around after 70 years.
“A year ago at this time, we were grieving the loss of several programs,” she said. “Right now, we are standing tall and standing proud and we are here to stay.”
For information, contact the agency at (618) 876-2383.