The First Tee of Oakland -- 2013 Newsletter

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We’re making a difference! April Kenyon was named Executive Director of The First Tee of Oakland in the spring of 2010 and has overseen unprecedented growth within the chapter. Here, she talks about the delights of her term and challenges ahead: What do the kids say about The First Tee? April: It’s pretty much unanimous, and we know this because we survey them at the end of every session: 100% of them have fun! They say they learn a lot, and you can see this in how so many of them have grown and matured into confident players. Several of our advanced players got to participate this summer in the PGA Junior League, and I’m really proud of the way they put the Nine Core Values in action while competing with other teams. What about the parents? What do they say? April: The parents really appreciate the structure of the program. They like the way it’s organized to deliver the Life Skills and Nine Core Values. They love the volunteers and coaches, and how much attention they give and how positive and motivating they are with the kids. And they see a big improvement in their kids’ confidence and respect. You’ve been with the program nearly four years. How has it grown and evolved in that time? April: We’ve seen a substantial growth in the number of young people impacted by the program every year, to more than 2,500 participants in 2013 through our on-course programing, National School Programs and local outreach. We continue to increase the number of young people involved through 16 elementary, middle and high schools and three youth development organizations. Our core volunteer group continues to grow and advance in skills. And on the player

PLEASE CONSIDER THE FIRST TEE OF OAKLAND AS YOU PLAN YOUR YEAR-END GIVING. Your gift of $110 would underwrite a student’s entire eight-week program. With $5,000, your gift will establish The First Tee in an elementary school’s curriculum. Donate at or mail your tax-deductible donation to 11425 Golf Links Road in Oakland, 94605.

level, we’ve had our share of success stories – this year in particular, with our first player to make her high school team. (That’s 15-year-old Jasmine Setiyadi. See her story on Page 4.) If the community continues to support and fund The First Tee of Oakland, what’s ahead? April: Hundreds more at-risk and disadvantaged youth in Oakland should have the opportunity to gain valuable life lessons in a safe and supportive environment, and with the necessary funding we can reach more of them. We know that the work we are doing here at The First Tee of Oakland helps more young people graduate from high school on time, with the life skills they need to succeed in college and life and with a desire to positively impact their communities. And so we at The First Tee of Oakland have set a goal to reach 17,000 young people through our various outreach programs by 2017. What do you need most in order to achieve those goals? April: Funding and volunteers. Our goal is to always have a 5-to-1 ratio of participants to volunteers, so that is a priority. We currently have about 45 volunteers and we must increase that to more than 100. As for funding, we are unlike most First Tee chapters in the Bay Area in that we pick up and transport to and from our schools, and in that the vast majority of our participants are on scholarship. So transportation and session fees are our biggest expenses. We also have to pay facility fees, buy healthy snacks and equipment, and fund The First Tee education of coaches.

LEFT: Program Manager Chris Moreno-Hunt, right, hammed it up with The First Tee players who attended the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. BELOW: The chapter’s first women’s day at Sequoyah Country Club raised $25,000 and was a big hit with attendees, who were treated to pre-round clinics and post-round lunch.

The May 6 annual fundraising tournament at Claremont Country Club raised about $90,000, including this big check from the Oakland Firefighters.

Save these dates! The First Tee of Oakland’s board and volunteers are working hard to schedule fundraisers in 2014. Here are two you can mark on your calendar now! Yes, you can help The First Tee of Oakland simply by playing golf. TO BE ANNOUNCED: 2nd Annual Women’s Golf Day at Sequoyah Country Club. MAY 19, 2014 : 4rd Annual Fundraising Golf Tournament at Claremont Country Club. To sign up, volunteer or donate tee prizes or auction items – or to organize other fundraisers -- call April Kenyon at 510.352.2002 or email

The chapter’s most skilled players donned team uniforms and competed in the PGA Junior League for the first time.

New for 2014: DRIVE! Transportation can be an obstacle for would-be The First Tee of Oakland participants who don’t have easy access to Lake Chabot, Metropolitan or Montclair golf courses. A new national program – DRIVE! – incorporates The First Tee into existing community outreach where golf fundamentals and the Nine Core Values can be taught anywhere using specially designed alternative golf equipment. DRIVE! Stands for Develops Rewarding Inspiring Values for Everyone. If you would like to bring DRIVE! into your neighborhood youth development program or provide sponsorship to equip a program for up to 30 participants a session, please contact April Kenyon at or 510.352.2002.

How We Impact, Influence & Inspire GOALS

Certifying Participants Target Outreach* Participants































DRIVE** Participants National School Program Participants National School Program Schools

*Target Outreach represents children reached through efforts beyond TFTO’s green-grass programs

**DRIVE is a new program launching in Oakland for 2014

Faces Of The First Tee Of Oakland

DeMardre & DeJeanne Allen

Levette Bryant

Harrod Tang

DeMardre Allen, 9, and his 7-year-old sister DeJeanne Allen get up early on Saturday mornings, get dressed, eat breakfast, and wait for their “Auntie Levette” to pick them up at their grandmother’s house and take them to Lake Chabot Golf Course. “They’re both smart kids and they love their coaches, so they are waiting for me when I come,” said Levette Bryant, who is actually a cousin of the children. “Their parents got in some big trouble and cannot be there for them, and their grandmother does not get around so well. So we’re just trying to give them as normal a childhood as possible.” DeMardre credits The First Tee for teaching him the core value of sportsmanship, “So now I am having more fun in the game and I don’t tease people, whether I win or lose.” DeJeanne has taken perseverance to heart. “It means not giving up on reaching my goals, even when I am scared and alone.” Both children, students at Fruitvale Elementary, say the best part of The First Tee of Oakland is learning to play golf, and Auntie Levette – a player assistant at Chabot who likes to play the game – might agree. “They have a 4-year-old sister Desiree, and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to come out.”

David Norris

Marco Hernandez

Harrod Tang, 13-year-old 8th grader at American Indian’s second campus Eagle level player… had fun in the PGA Junior League last summer … aspires to become a golf club engineer… “I like perseverance. Through golf, I have learned to keep my composure and move past the bad shots. And when I struggled in school, I used perseverance to get help.” David Norris, engineer and project manager at AT&T Level 1 Life Skills volunteer coach with the Player+ children on Saturdays at Lake Chabot. … His wife isn’t a golfer, but all three of their kids are either participating or volunteering with The First Tee of Oakland. … “The biggest reward by far is the expression on the kids’ faces when they get a concept, hit a solid golf shot, or improve in some way.” Marco Hernandez, 12-year-old 6th grader at St. Elizabeth’s Par level player… brother and sister also are participants … has turned his grades around since bonding with Coach Gene and embracing the Nine Core Values, and his parents have noticed that he is more respectful … “I learned lifelong skills that I can use my whole life, especially respect. I want people to respect me, and I know other people want me to respect them.”

Why the Oakland chapter needs your help 33% of Oakland youth live below the poverty level 95% of The First Tee of Oakland children are non-Caucasion (as opposed to 49 percent nationally) 36% of Oakland’s children are overweight 33% of Oakland’s children drop out of high school Oakland’s crime rate is 291% higher than the national average


The First Tee of Oakland 11425 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605 510.352.2002

Scholarships underwrite the session fees of 86% of the Oakland chapter’s participants Although Oakland’s children are as bright and creative as children anywhere, they face bigger challenges and obstacles than the average American. Can you spare three hours a week to help them? Call Program Manager Chris Moreno-Hunt at 510.352.2002 or email him at

Taking The First Tee To The High School Team Jasmine’s favorite core value?

“Integrity,” she said.

Board of Directors

“ It’s what you do when no one is looking.”

Officers Pam McBain, President Justin Hurd, Vice President John Mangini, Treasurer George Argyris, Legal Brooke Hauch, Secretary Directors Wendi Caporicci Michael Dean Roger Huddlestone Gail Hunter Michael Karasik Elgin Lowe Mark Maguire Jay McDaniel (PGA) Nancy McDaniel (LPGA) Emeritus Directors Steve Harker

Jasmine Setiyadi, 15, didn’t know she was joining The First Tee of Oakland until one day three years ago her mother, Utami, said, “Oh, by the way, you’re going golfing this weekend.” Vern Padgett Joshua Paul William Peterson Justin Roach Phillip Rowley Doug Sager Lockey Todd Jamie Totsubo

Mimi Johnson-Jacobs

Staff April Kenyon, Executive Director Chris Moreno-Hunt, Program Manager

Now a sophomore at Foothill High, Jasmine has become the first member of the Oakland chapter to make her high school team. “This is a milestone for our program,” executive director April Kenyon said – and it’s no small thing for Jasmine, either. “It’s very exciting – a big commitment and a lot of time, but I am really enjoying it,” said Jasmine, who expects her 13-yearold sister, Alana, to join her in a year or two. “We play two (nine-hole) matches a week and go to different courses all over. I wasn’t about to try out, but this past summer I went to a weeklong First Tee camp where we were on the course every day. We focused on the short game, and I got the confidence to try out for the team.” Jasmine shot 50 at Callippe but says her best round has been a 54 on the tough Ruby Hill layout. Her favorite core value? “Integrity,” she said. “It’s what you do when no one is looking.”

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