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How local pro golfer’s $5.3M donation will help kids’ mental health

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The mental health crisis among our kids is now a national emergency.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report one in five children has either a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. It’s one of the reasons local pro golfer Kevin Kisner is donating more than $5 million for a new center at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Talks about bringing a Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Center to CHOG started a couple years ago. That’s when a partnership formed with the Kisner Foundation.

“The mission of the Kevin and Brittany Kisner Foundation is to create a positive environment for children to grow into responsible adults with a bright future and our vision is that all children have access to that,” said Brittany Kisner, Kevin & Brittany Kisner Foundation.

PGA golfer Kevin Kisner is from Aiken. His wife Brittany worked at Children’s Hospital of Georgia from 2009 to 2012 as a speech pathologist. So supporting this cause really resonated with them.

“I want people that come and support us to see their money at work and see why we’re here. We’re not here to have a good time, we’re here to put forth all of our combined assets for the greater good of the community,” said Kevin.

The Kisners donated $50,000 a year ago which allowed for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to begin planning and formulating ideas of what this new center will look like.

“We are just incredibly grateful for the recent announcement of the $5.3 million contribution which allows us to establish an endowment which means this program will be supported forever,” said Dr. Valera Hudson, Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

According to the CDC, nearly one in five kids has a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. This Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness Center will allow families to get all the services they need in one place.

“Even before COVID we were recognizing increasing challenges for children regarding behavioral and mental health issues and the pandemic has only exacerbated that,” said Hudson.

Hudson says their goal moving forward is to make sure all families are able to get the care they need.

“It’s nearly prohibitive to provide access to all children without philanthropic support, so our intent is not to turn any child anyway,” said Hudson.

Hudson says right now they’re in the process of recruiting two developmental behavioral pediatricians. Those pediatricians will be the key to moving this program forward – which they expect to see happen in the next four to six months.

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