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Arts Clayton golf tournament celebrates decade of fundraising

Golfers head out onto the course to play in the 10th annual Allan Vigil Golf Classic Invitational Tuesday at Eagle’s Landing Country Club. The tournament raises funds for Arts Clayton education programs.

Golfers head out onto the course to play in the 10th annual Allan Vigil Golf Classic Invitational Tuesday at Eagle’s Landing Country Club. The tournament raises funds for Arts Clayton education programs.

— Allan Vigil said sponsoring a golf tournament that benefited arts education programs was the right thing to do 10 years ago.

For the last decade, the Allan Vigil Golf Classic Invitational has raised money to pay for and expand Arts Clayton’s education activities, including Read to Succeed Through the Arts, ArtVan and the Kaleidoscope and Young Teen Summer Camps.

The 10th annual tournament was held Tuesday at Eagle’s Landing Country Club where 30 teams — the largest group yet — took to the links.

“I felt strongly about the work they do, and hopefully we’ll be able to do this tournament for at least another 10 years,” said Vigil.

The golf tournament has raised nearly $250,000 for arts education programs in Clayton County over the last decade, said Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin. It and Arte Gras are the two main fundraisers for those efforts.

“We’re where we are today in the growth of Arts Clayton and our education initiatives because of that,” Summerlin told golfers before the tournament began.

Arts Clayton’s main educational activities are Read to Succeed through the Arts and ArtVan. Through these programs, volunteers visit schools, libraries, daycare centers and community festivals with a mobile unit that encourages reading through song, dance and craft-making.

Several teams who participated in this year’s tournament are repeat participants. One of those returning teams was from Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Team members Julee Brunson, Tyrone Burke, Vivian English and Ryan Behrens said the credit union participates each year because it believes in helping programs across Georgia that benefit their communities.

“Arts Clayton has been a great program,” said Behrens. “It’s a good cause having a facility to provide arts to children.”

Vigil’s son, Mike Vigil, said his family feels it is important to continue sponsoring efforts to provide educational programs for Clayton County children. The younger Vigil has led the tournament’s organizing committee as either its chairman or co-chairman since it began.

“It’s about getting educational opportunities to children,” Mike Vigil said.

His father then expanded on that statement, saying, “They’re helping the children of Clayton County and that’s what it’s all about.”