Lighting the way for children to grow in a safe and nurturing environment.

Issue 04 August 2016 

Now is the time to take advantage of a great opportunity to benefit Kellie Rynn Academy by purchasing a chance to own an exquisitely hand crafted guitar by Steve Hayes of Greenville, SC, and signed by singer-songwriter Edwin McCain, called the "great American romantic" by the New York Times. 


Another South Carolina musician, singer and songwriter, Darius Rucker, signed the strap of Kellie Rynn's guitar.
Read below about the talented musicians who have played this well-crafted instrument and added their magic to the story of  Kellie Rynn's Guitar !
Edwin McCain has built an enviable career over the past 20 years by balancing his massive pop success with the year-round touring schedule of a tireless troubador. He recorded two of the biggest love songs in the history of pop music, I'll Be and I Could Not Ask For More, and now performs upwards of 100 shows annually throughout the US as a solo artist, with his full band, his acoustic trio or performing with symphonies. Edwin's home state is South Carolina. 

Michael Miller is a composer, arranger, folk singer, music educator, recording artist and and oil painter. He has been the lead vocalist in rock, beach and R&B bands, and a classroom teacher in settings from K-12 to the university level. At SCETV he was a video/media producer, a writer, developer and marketing director. He was president of Telecourse People and coordinator for instructional systems development at the National Center for The First Year Experience at the University of South Carolina.

Darius Rucker gained fame as the lead vocalist in Hootie & the Blowfish, the famous band founded at the University of South Carolina in 1986. The band charted six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and Rucker co-wrote the majority of the band's songs. Darius transitioned to country music and he was the first black artist to reach No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart since Charley Pride in 1983. In 2009 Darius became the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, and only the second African American to win any award from the association.   

Darius Rucker with Kellie Rynn's grandparents, Mike and Kitzi Craig

Jacob Johnson is a guitar virtuoso whose infectious joy for playing and performing will capture you, lock you in, and send you back into your life two steps happier. He woos us with infectious folk songs and calls Greenville, SC, his home. 

Steve Watson has performed all over the world as a member of The University of Miami Concert Jazz Band and was a member of The Bruce Hornsby Band. He is a studio guitarist for television, movies and records, recording commercials as well.  He has been a university adjunct professor and university lecturer. Steve playing Kellie Rynn's guitar
Sandi Morris is an outdoor pole vault American record holder who competed in the pole vault event at the 2016 World Championships in Athletics in Bejing, China, and won the silver medal in the women's pole vault at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was her first Olympics and she cleared 15 feet, 9 inches to move from 5th to 2nd place.

Tom Atkinson,  a cousin of Kellie Rynn Martin, has been a country music disc jockey and radio station manager for many years and is currently the leader of a bluegrass band titled Roadkill Bluegrass from Columbia, SC.  Tom plays guitar and mandolin and has been the featured guitar, mandolin and vocals on CDs by the High Lonesome Bluegrass Band and Blueridge Mountain Grass.
Ryan Lau  is an incredible guitar player who just graduated from Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina.  In July, 2016, he headed to Nashville to make his way in commercial music. 

Lee McDerment has been the worship director at NewSpring Church for over 16 years.  A graduate of Anderson University with a major in music, he wrote and produced his first full-length studio album, A Matchlight in the Dark, that is sold at the NewSpring Store. Lee's songs can be found on ITunes, Spotify and CCLI TV.
Addie Hampton and Dylan Arms are two upstate South Carolina professionals who joined forces to sing together while Dylan played Kellie Rynn's guitar.
Addie is an award nominated reporter and anchor for 7 News, having held exclusive interviews with presidential candidates and President Obama during his first visit to SC since 2008.  She is an accomplished vocalist and shares her ministry in churches across the country. As a winner of numerous regional and national talent competitions she was a contestant on Star Search after earning her title of America's National Teenager and Miss Teen Georgia.
Dylan is a singer-songwriter from Greer, SC, who is the worship leader at Springwell in Taylors, SC, and has released his debut album,  So Much to Say , in August of 2012.He was a contestant in FOX's American Idol during its Hollywood Round section of the show's competition.  In 2013, Taylor released his first music video and his second album,  Take Me Higher , which is available on iTunes.
The Story of Kellie Rynn's Guitar,
by Steve Hayes
  I love music and really love guitars.  Unfortunately, God didn't bless me with a singing voice, or even much in the way of rhythm.  
That hasn't stopped me from trying to play guitar for over 45 years.

What God has given me is the ability to use my hands and tools to create some pretty nice guitars. I don't build these guitars for money, instead I build them for people whom I care deeply about. I want all of my guitars to be labors of love and the guitar that I have built for the Kellie Rynn Academy is especially close to my heart.    Click here to see the full story by Steve Hayes.
Kellie Rynn's family, Steve Hayes and Edwin McCain
How you can make a difference:
Kellie Rynn Academy is developing funds for scholarships for low income and deserving children at existing state of the art academies in Greenville County. KRA's mission is to provide the highest levels of safety, diversity and access to low-income families, as well as other "in need" families. We need your help. Your generous donations help us have the funds to raise the level of infant care throughout Greenville County.

The academy is named for Kellie Rynn Martin who passed away February 21, 2014 in an unsafe, in-home childcare center where there were more children than allowed by law.  There have been an increasing number of infant deaths due to lack of supervision or other unsafe conditions in childcare centers throughout South Carolina.  Kellie Rynn Academy will help provide educational access to a nurturing environment where parents can leave their children with confidence.  It will also provide safety training to those same families, so that Kellie Rynn's kids will be safe at home as well as at school.

Support Kellie Rynn Academy by purchasing a raffle ticket for the Kellie Rynn Guitar by September 20th. The winner will be contacted directly on September 20th. Tickets are $20 and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets purchased.
 Don't Forget these two events on September 20th and 21st, 2016!

 2nd Annual Captain's Choice Golf Tournament 

Wednesday, September 21

Where:     The Cliffs at Mountain Park
When:       9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Foursome: $1,000 ($250 per player)

Click  here  to view the 2016 sponsorship packages. 
Smoke on the Water
is donating 100% of its sales for lunch and dinner on Tuesday, September 20th, to Kellie Rynn Academy!
Located at 1 Augusta Street, downtown Greenville
Ron and Cathy Watkins of just sew, who are located behind the Haywood Mall at 1010 Woods Crossing Road in Greenville, have graciously donated their skill and talent in doing all of the sewing for the inspirational cardinal pillows for Kellie Rynn Academy's fund raising programs. Thank you so much, Ron and Cathy! 
Support KRA and Give an Inspirational Cardinal Pillow
A Letter to Our Supporters
August 11, 2016
  Click here to read the letter to our supporters  regarding our new focus to concentrate on developing funds for scholarships for low income and deserving children at existing state of the art academies in Greenville County.
Kellie Rynn Academy Board of Directors:

  • Kitzi Craig, Chairman of the Board
  • Jana Crain, Secretary
  • Mike Nocito, Treasurer
  • Malinda McCrary, Fundraising Chairman
  • Chery O'Malley, Director
  • Cindy Weathers, Director
  • Father Patrick Tuttle, Director
  • Katie Yoder, Director
  • Kellie Martin, Director
  • Mike Craig, Director
  • Mike Farry, Director
  • Ralph Aiken, Director
  • Ashley Martin, Kellie Rynn's father
  • Kathryn Martin, Kellie Rynn's mother
  Kellie Rynn Academy
West Greenville, Greenville, SC 29611