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Bid or play golf; it all helps kids
Edmondson-Telford Center is building new facility
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Gen. Joseph Schroedel explains why Lanier will not immediately benefit from the reduce flow into Florida.

On Thursday some 250 golfers will tee off for a cause at Chateau Elan.

The 11th annual Phil Niekro Golf Classic benefits the Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, which has served abused and neglected children since 1997.

"We’re just busy getting ready," said Jane Carpenter, programs director for the center.

The tournament has been sold out since August. Accompanying the event is the Niekro’s Nine Raffle, now in its third year.

All proceeds from the events will go to the center, with a portion of the money raised to be used specifically for construction.

The organization is in the process of building a new facility on Washington Street that will house several other agencies that serve children.

There will be on-site medical exams for children, and Court Appointed Special Advocates will also move into the building.

Grading has begun on the lot. Construction is expected to begin in January and last 10 to 12 months, said Heather Hayes, director of the center.

The new setup "will improve the access to services," Hayes said, and added that it will be more centralized and will allow children and families to go to one place to receive services instead of going all over the community.

Hayes said child abuse cases are often strengthened by communication between the center, law enforcement, social services and therapists.

"Having all these services more centralized is not only easier for the actual victim to access services, it also makes for stronger prosecution, and ultimately, better outcomes for the child," she said.

On Thursday, 44 teams of six will tee off at Chateau Elan.

Each foursome has a team captain who is a celebrity in the sports world, as well as an official scorekeeper who follows each team.

"Phil invites them to play to add a special dimension to our tournament," Carpenter said.

The tournament is followed by a banquet at Chateau’s Hospitality Center, where Niekro will hold a live auction and raffle winners will be announced.

Prizes include a trip to Orlando for four with two-day passes to Disney World and a March 2008 Atlanta Braves spring training game, a week at a beachfront condominium in Destin, Fla., a 14 karat white gold brilliant cut diamond pendant and a Braves box for 16 for a 2008 game, complete with an appearance by Phil Niekro.

The center’s first golf tournament in 1997 raised about $8,000, and about 50 people were involved, Hayes said.

Since then the event has continued to grow, and now takes an entire year to plan.

Last year the golf tournament and raffle brought in $107,000. Hayes said the goal for this year is $125,000.

"We’re well on our way," she said.

Though a building had to be torn down in order to make way for the new Edmondson-Telford Center for Children, Hayes said they saved stone from the building, as well as some door frames and window sills that they will incorporate into the new one.

"It will make it pretty for the community as well as kind of restore some of that history that was there," she said.