These local moms are on the frontlines in the truest sense of the word. Click here for their stories.

0410_chessThe first time Gregory Kaidanov met the girl who would become the strongest female player in the history of chess, he was a 20-year-old chess master and Judit Polgar was a 6-year-old prodigy who on a trip to Moscow with her parents.
They were already two players the chess world would keep its eyes on for decades to come. What the chess world keeps its eyes on apparently sometimes slips right past the rest of us. Many years later, the two crossed paths again in a suite at the Hilton Head Marriot Resort and Spa for a no-frills match in front of a small crowd that might not look like much to the average outsider.

mvp_0310It’d be easy to make the argument that these Bluffton Township firefighters deserve the coveted title of Hilton Head Monthly’s Most Valuable Person just for the job they do … you know with all of that rescuing people from burning buildings and such.


1. What are the names of the members of the Irish rock band U2?
A) Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.
B) Larry, Moe & Curly
C) Bono and Cher
D) Peter, Paul & Mary

Hilton Head Monthly

Monthly goes green in March with tips, stories and more on being environmentally friendly. In keeping with the "green" theme, we also have the scoop on St. Patrick's Day events.


We can all do our part when it comes to going “green.” Click here for  tips on recycling and reducing.

From Singapore to Sydney: A diary of a cruise

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- St. Augustine

Gwendolyn Ste. Marie and her husband, Chet Williams, stand outside the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.

Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Regent Seven Seas Mariner

Passports packed. Australian visas verified. All aboard!
To celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my husband and I booked an all-inclusive fare, 17-day Asia Pacific Cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Mariner. The Singapore to Sydney trip through 3 countries began with an over-night stay at Raffles in one of Asia’s most storied hostelries.

Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill and Whoopie Goldberg have two things in common. First, they all suffered from learning disabilities. Second, their photos line a wall in The Learning Center on Hilton Head Island, serving as inspiration to the students there.

The inspiration for the center came from Malcolm Goodridge of Beaufort, who overcame dyslexia and ultimately had a successful career starting at Citibank and ending with 25 years at American Express. Goodridge, along with Magic Johnson, Cher and former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean received national recognition from the Lab School of Washington, D.C., in 1988 for overcoming dyslexia.

Goodridge said it was his dyslexia that afforded him the opportunity to develop additional skills, such as persistence, perseverance, organization and self-discipline. Those skills have benefited him all of his adult life, he said,  and contributed to his self-confidence and success. He hopes The Learning Center will be a place that helps many other students develop those skills.

Programs at The Learning Center are designed to provide specialized instruction to college-bound students with “learning differences,” a term Goodridge prefers to “learning disabilities.” The mission of The Learning Center is to transform students with learning differences into confident, self-directed learners, both in and beyond the classroom. Those students are referred to The Learning Center by their schools.

"The Learning Center makes it fun to learn," said Allison Blake, a seventh-grade student. "I used to have a hard time reading, especially long words, but now it's so much easier for me, and reading is fun. I know the work in middle and upper school will get harder, and I also know I'm learning good strategies that will help me as I keep moving up."

According to the National Institutes of Health, 15 percent of the U.S. population, or one in seven Americans, has some type of learning difference. The school population is no exception. The Learning Center, which held its grand opening on Nov. 5, is currently serving about eight to 10 students and officials there expect those numbers will rise to at least 50 in the next three years.

Goodridge is working closely with Herb Gray, chairman of Beaufort Academy, a college preparatory school, and Randy Wall, headmaster of Beaufort Academy.

The center has also received support from the Beaufort County School District and the Beaufort County community. In two-and-a-half years, fundraising efforts yielded approximately $778,000 from about 185 people or organizations. The center is privately supported and has an endowment of $280,000 to award scholarships.
Goodridge has high hopes for the future of the center and its students.

“I have learned that being dyslexic is my greatest asset,” he said. “It’s important to remember that it’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce in life that matters most.”

For more information about The Learning Center, call Susan DiFabio at 843-524-3393.

Since its inception, the Hilton Head Island Boys & Girls Club has been expanding to serve the community. And it’s happening again.

What began in 1990 as a small space in Sandalwood Terrace was quickly outgrown. That space was expanded to a full apartment in the complex a few years later and then, after a four-year campaign kicked off in 1995 by the tireless staff, the current 28,000-square-foot Batten Family Boys & Girls Club was born.

As much space as this new facility gave the club, the demand for Boys & Girls Club services has grown with the island over the last 10 years. About a year ago, the club’s board began eyeing expansion once again.

Enter the Merle J. Graham Charitable Trust. Graham, who was one a key organizer of the Sea Pines Property Owners Association, had a longtime history of charitable giving, along with his wife Marian. Although Merle Graham passed away in 2006, his foundation has continued to serve the community, this time giving $250,000 to help create a new reading center at the Boys & Girls Club.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for the club to greatly enhance our curriculum,” said Jim Hooper, past president of the board.

“This will be an exciting and innovative time for our organization.”

There is no room for expansion of the Gumtree Road facility, so the reading center will be created by reallocating current Boys & Girls Club office space.

The reading center will consist of a large area for holding a variety of literacy-related activities, including puppet shows, poetry readings, translation services and volunteer reading sessions. The second space will have activities for smaller groups; and the third space will be devoted to the most simple of pleasures, sitting down with a good book. There will also be a space for several computers loaded with literacy software.

In addition to the reading center, the Boys & Girls Club will also light the soccer field for night games, add a nature trail and upgrade security.

According to Douglas Barry, the club's development director, there is no specific date yet to open the reading center, but they are planning to open sometime this month.
While the generous donation from the Merle J. Graham Foundation helped build the actual center, the Boys & Girls Club is planning a fundraiser to buy books, furniture and more. This “Around the World” Gala will be held March 19 at the Westin.

“This is an opportunity for the Boys & Girls Club to consistently and effectively address a serious issue facing our youth,” said Pam Lapp, the new director of the reading center. “The center’s mission will be to provide our youth with a fun and creative environment designed to foster a love of reading.”


Around the World Gala
The Westin Hotel and Resort will host a special fundraiser gala to help purchase books, technology and furniture for the new reading center at the Hilton Head Boys & Girls Club.
When/where: Cocktail hour at 5 p.m., followed by dinner, auction and entertainment from 6-10 p.m., March 19
The scoop: Internationally acclaimed jazz singer Carol Welsman will perform selections from her new album “I Like Men: Reflections of Miss Peggy Lee.” The Boys & Gils Club Youth Choir will also take the stage during the gala to give the crowd a firsthand look at the lives being changed by the club. Tickets are $175, patron tickets (which include a listing in the program) are $200 and tables of 10 are $2,000.

For more information: Call the Boys & Girls Club at 689-3646.

What bride doesn’t dream of that perfect one-of-a-kind gown that’s made just for her?

That dream is within reach at En Vogue in Main Street Village on Hilton Head Island, where designer/consultant Patricia Hufenbecher creates affordable yet unique dresses for brides, mothers-of-the-bride, bridesmaids, flower girls, proms, First Communion, cotillion and Quinceañera, among others.

Hufenbecher, who hails from Berlin, Germany, and speaks five languages, opened the shop about six months ago after many years of designing show-stopping dresses in Europe, New York City and Palm Beach, Fla.