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New community group aims to forge connections

The newly organized tLINK group made up of Tea community members will host its first event May 6.

tLINK founder Amanda McNelly invites everyone in the community to meet at the Athletic Complex at 2 p.m. for a community-wide litter cleanup day. After cleaning up, they will meet back at the Athletic Complex for hot dogs and kickball games.

McNelly got the idea for tLINK after recent tragedies in Tea and from her business partner who works with the Dell Rapids Connections group. After talking to her about that group, McNelly approached school district superintendent Jennifer Lowery about starting a group. McNelly noted that the group is not school-based, but staff does take part in the group. The group also consists of parents, business owners and church leaders.

“Our overall mission is more than mental health. Our mission is bringing the community together by building relationships, taking action and providing education services for the entire community,” McNelly said.

With her background in counseling, McNelly thought the community of Tea could come together before more tragedies occur.

“With all the tragic events that continue to happen in Tea and the surrounding community, everybody talks about what’s going on, we need to do something,” she said.

Through their first event on May 6, they want to build relationships and do a service project at the same time.

“The whole purpose of the group is to get the community to bond together, to be able to connect, just to build that bond and relationships,” she said. “So when we have issues or have events where people are needing support, they know that there’s others within the community to reach out to.”

Besides bonding together as a community, the group will bring awareness to whatever concerns or issues are going on in the community. Those topics could include substance use, cyber bullying or money issues.

As the group gets started, they plan to do activities about every quarter or more if needed. tLINK has a Facebook page to follow and anyone interested in learning more about the group can email

McNelly is optimistic for the group’s impact in the community.

“I think it’ll be a good way for people to get to know each other. We’ve talked a lot about you may live in a community and know your neighbor next to you, but you don’t know somebody who lives three doors down from you. Try to go outside your box. We’re a nice, small community and hope to keep us that way and have that kind of feel,” McNelly said.

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