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PGA TOUR Wives host Sierra School Foundation event during Barracuda Championship

June 30, 2016

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

Sometimes, falling through the cracks renders itself to a soundless cry for help. Though not always does it fall on deaf ears.

On Wednesday at the Barracuda Championship, members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association gave a little to a group who heard one such cry for help and is giving back a lot.

Sierra County is one of the most rural and remote counties in the state of California. As such, because of the way educational funding works, rural and remote schools get left out of the equation. Those areas are not defined by the students, businesses, building structures and homes, which is how tax-dollar funding gets determined. Simply, rural and remote areas don’t just get the short end of the stick. They get no piece of the stick at all.    

Ami Garrigus, wife of PGA TOUR member Robert Garrigus, grew up in the Sierra Country public school district. When she and Robert learned that Ami’s high school Spanish teacher was starting the Sierra Schools Foundation, an organization designed to fill many of these gaps, they were drawn enough to it to help provide enough seed money to help the Foundation come to fruition.

At Montreux Golf & Country Club, students from the Foundation were treated to an afternoon of activities that will literally last a lifetime.  A donation from the PGA TOUR Wives Foundation for $5,000 was also made to the Sierra Schools Foundation.

“I was so excited when the Barracuda Championship wanted to this with the Sierra Schools Foundation,” said Ami. “I really applaud their efforts to go out and give back to their community and the rural schools that really struggle for funding for their schools.

“Because we are both rural and remote, we don’t have the access,” said Megan Meschery, Founding President, Sierra Schools Foundation. “We’re a good 90 minutes away from a lot of educational opportunities in urban or even suburban areas. A lot of our families are poor and don’t even have cars that work to get their kids to those areas, so we do a lot of field trip and transportation funding. We’ve also started some engineering work at some of the schools and do a lot of teacher training. We just basically fill a lot of those educational gaps.”

Sponsored by the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, kids were treated to the unique opportunity to learn as they created.

The Foundation, which began five years ago, funded a large learning garden behind its elementary school. There, each child has his or her own gardening plot, where they become educated about farm-to-table and farm-to-school movements. On Wednesday, the kids, painted tiles to take back and place permanently on a newly-created wall which frames that garden. It will create a lasting memory of the effort made this week by the PGA TOUR Wives Association. 

“What people need to realize is that many of the PGA TOUR players out here are family people,” said Meschery. “They have children and they understand the importance of education. A lot of the work the PGA TOUR Wives do is around children, families, housing and ensuring that the core fundamentals of any housing is solid, healthy and functioning. I’ve noticed that a lot of their work is focused heavily on that. So, I am so happy and grateful for what they are doing here to help us.”

“The PGA TOUR Wives Association was formed nearly 30 years ago, with the mission of helping needy children and their families,” said Ami. “Since we are away from home so much, we don’t have a regular community, so our communities are on the road, the different cities and towns we go to. So, it is a means for us to give to people who really need it. Our community really is across the country and so it is really important for us to be able to do that.”

In the Sierra Schools Foundation’s garden, more grows than just that which emerges from the earth. Inside the walls bearing the physical reminders of a special afternoon in June 2016, growing also, always, will be hearts and minds of those who’s dreams for an education were neither overlooked nor silenced.    

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