Written by: Brandon Worley, UCAG Founder/Executive Director
Brandon Worley signed up for the Army after graduating high school in 2010 from Clinton High. Brandon served active duty as an artillery mechanic from July 2010- July 2014. Worley founded Upstate-Carolina Adaptive Golf (UCAG) in October 2018 while working on his Master of Science in Positive Psychology at Life University. Worley was inspired after volunteering for a Georgia State Golf Association adaptive golf program for visually impaired children hosted by David Windsor and now operates UCAG as the Executive Director. Worley has attended 2 national adaptive golf coach workshops hosted by David Windsor and is dedicated to the mission of UCAG to serve individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities and provide opportunities for adaptive golf. UCAG serves veterans, individuals recovering from physical or mental trauma, adults and children with developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities. Brandon hosted an adaptive golf coach training at Clemson University in April 2019 and UCAG been operating consistent adaptive golf clinics since July 2019. Brandon just recently graduated in Dec 2020 with his Masters in Positive Psychology with a concentration in coaching.
The mission of Upstate-Carolina Adaptive Golf (UCAG) is to serve individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities and provide opportunities for adaptive golf. UCAG serves veterans, individuals recovering from physical or mental trauma, adults and children with developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities.
UCAG’s programming improves physical & mental health, overall wellness, and access to innovative therapy for adaptive athletes in our community. UCAG believes anyone can discover their abilities (not their disabilities) when given the opportunity, we exist to provide that opportunity for everyone.
UCAG’s therapeutic approach to adaptive golf coaching establishes a “no-fail” environment for those new to golf and utilizes adaptive equipment to maximize all levels of abilities. Our coaches implement mindfulness-based cognitive strategies to increase confidence, establish independence, and positively impact mental and physical health. The involvement in a community of people overcoming obstacles and pursuing common goals is therapeutic, and the opportunities to socialize and learn together that we provide are paramount. Our clinics provide benchmarks for improvements in physical health, psycho-social status, cognitive status, and recreation activity within the community to measure our impact on length and quality of life in the greater Greenville disabled Veteran and special needs communities. Galvanized by the ability to enhance lives, UCAG passionately pursues continued development and growth of our programming and capability to increase opportunities to make an impact on and provide a community for the participants we serve.
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl7UDqsyaJqzYyNI8wissSA
Our monthly Veteran & Community Adaptive Golf Clinics:
Every 3rd Monday of the month at Topgolf 10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Every 4th Monday of the month at Shanks driving range 4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
A Dynamic Collaboration
Several agencies collaborated to plan and execute The Minority Financial Summit.
The following individuals were instrumental in delivering a webinar that was well-received by attendees:
Brenton Brown, presenter, SC Commission for Minority Affairs
Tammie Greene and Sonja Barkley, presenters, SC Department of Commerce
Natasha Pitts, City of Spartanburg
Jalitha Moore, One Spartanburg
Katrina Meeks, SC SBDC
It is common for small businesses and start-ups to need funding to operate or expand their business. Unfortunately, many of these owners and entrepreneurs do not know where to find financial assistance, nor how to apply for it. A key function of the SC Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is connecting clients with funding options unique to their business needs and helping them apply for these programs. With small businesses floundered in the wake of COVID-19, Spartanburg Area Manager Katrina Meeks decided to take this initiative one step further with the Minority Financial Summit webinar training.The Minority Financial Summit was designed to advance and foster lender relationships and connections, specifically for minority-owned small businesses. The webinar educated attendees on funding options available within the community and discussed the criteria lenders look for when deciding to fund various projects. It also addressed the disparities that minorities often experience when working to secure small business funding.
Meeks developed the curriculum not only for those seeking a business loan or grant, but also for anyone interested in understanding how the SBA supports small businesses or how each of the “4 C’s” (customer, cost, convenience, and communication) factors into the longevity of a business. The event was promoted through the SBDC’s extensive network, as well as through each participating member’s social media account and through each participating agency’s resource partner database.
Over 300 people from throughout the state of South Carolina submitted interest in the webinar, and 127 people attended. The summit featured a lineup of panelists including Community Development Loan Officer Joseph Dukes, Dixon Woodward of United Community Bank, Lee Belcher of Synovus Bank, and Frank Anderson of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The speakers talked about how businesses can strengthen their financial impact, and also provided financial information for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business. The collaboration between speakers from different agencies offered a dynamic variety of perspectives and was applauded by attendees—many of which encouraged the SBDC to host the event again in 2022.
“Your program was excellent,” said Erin Ouzts of Ten at the Top. “The guest speakers were knowledgeable and covered topics relevant to the audience. Thank you for making this happen.”
Robyn Grable, Founder & CEO of Veterans ASCEND/Ability ASCEND
Visit the veteransascend.com and abilityascend.org (in production) websites to learn about these hiring models and how they align talent across businesses and organizations matched on skills, location and salary requirements. See the presentation here and watch a recording of the TATT Chat here.
See upcoming TATT events here.
Upstate Warrior Solution, Theresa Thompson, Deputy Director
Serves all veterans and opening up services to first responders
Local nonprofit born and raised in the Upstate with all money raised locally including grant funding, corporate donations, event fundraising, and private donations
Partnering with PRISMA (and soon Spartanburg Regional) to identify veterans in need following medical treatment
Guest Speakers, Tom Allen, Director of Safety, Transportation, and Emergency Response, South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff, Jim Stritzinger, Founder, President & CEO, Revolution D, Inc., and Shannon Sears, Director of Commercial Operations, West Carolina Tel on Broadband in the Upstate
Please see video recording to view presentations and comments. View presentation here.
Q & A and Links
Q: Who is eligible to apply for the grants?
A: Providers are eligible and entities are encouraged to advocate local providers to apply.
Q: Do you know if USAC is going to expand E-rate to include another category for home? Can we use the grant to provide for our 20% match?
A: This is the link to the new funding available from ORS and the Department of Commerce -https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program
Here is the link to the map. Please keep in mind that there are errors and we are working with ISPs and vendor to correct – https://ors.sc.gov/broadband/funding/rural-broadband-grant-program
Thank you to our funding partners:
3/9/21 UEE Workshop: Conversations to Avoid Intellectual Property Calamities:
3/24/21 at 10:00 am: UPP Workshop: Northside Community Update:
Check out the Upstate Vibe calendar:
Please join us for the next TATT CHAT on March 18 at 3pm: Maintaining Mental Health:
The EJ Small Grants and EJ CPS RFAs are now live. Closing date is May 7, 2021.
Eligible entities include:
- U.S. territories
- Tribal Governments (both federally recognized and state-recognized)
- Native American Organizations
- Small grants are for $50,000 each. Looking to fund approximately 56 nationwide with about 5 per region.
CPS awards are for $160,000 each. Looking to fund 20 nationwide with approximately 2 per region.
Areas of emphasis include projects focusing on:
- COVID-19 impacts on underserved communities (both)
- Climate/Disaster Resiliency (both)
- Ports Initiative projects (small grants)
- Projects from small non-profits of 10 or fewer employees (small grants)
- New applicants and grantees (both)
Abbeville County – Stephen Taylor, Economic Development Director
- Our unemployment numbers have improved greatly: 13.9 to 4.8
- As a rural community we are glad to see infrastructure growth
- Upper Savannah Virtual Workforce Day was a success (link); WCTEL participated
- Abbeville is looking closely at public transportation options
Union County – Taylor Atkinson, Executive Director, Union County Library
- We have recently hired a full time social worker at the Library (SC Native; has connections and is aware of the local resources) who is doing outreach in our area
- As a workaround to broadband, the library is an “anchor institution” mandated to have internet access by the FCC. In rural parts of Union County they can provide internet to at little to no cost to the community and are working on expanding several other sites in Union County
- Open up for limited library browsing hours and pick ups