ANNUAL APPEAL

 

Dear Friends of The First Tee of New Hampshire,

The First Tee has certainly come a long way since that chilly day 20 years ago in New York in 1997, now serving over 10 million young people worldwide.  In 2003, The First Tee of New Hampshire was born.  Our mission to build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices for the youth of New Hampshire through the game of golf is now in full force.  Our team is stronger than ever, and I am so honored to have recently been named the Executive Director of this incredible organization.

Today’s children are growing up in challenging times.  One in three American youth, 16 million, will reach the age of 19 without having a mentor of any kind.  In addition, with almost 1 in 5 high school students dropping out, academic underachievement or failure is a real possibility.  Our character education and life skills programs help young people prepare for success in high school, college and life. 

One of our newer programs specifically addresses these challenges in Claremont, NH.  Two years ago, an existing youth golf program, aptly named Dody’s Kids Program, became a part of our First Tee of New Hampshire family.  Why?  Because The First Tee asks each community one vital question: “Are The Children Well?”  Marie Allen Pitorino, the Lead Coach of this program, knew that many children in Claremont were not well.  Some have suffered abuse, others suffer parental neglect, and many live without the financial means to play golf.  When we described to Marie Allen The First Tee’s qualitative delivery emphasized by its Core Values and Life Skills, she knew that these children would benefit immensely.  Truly, the success of “Dody’s kids” is because of a caring community that contributes in any way each can, because they value their children and they believe that golf along with caring mentors delivering The First Tee philosophy is a creative way to nurture their young people.

Dody Belski, the founder of Dody’s kids, was a longtime advocate and teacher of youth golf in Claremont for several decades.  Impressed and inspired by Dody’s vision for keeping golf available and fun for children of all ages, Marie continued this program which now enlists over 60 young golfers ranging in ages from 5-15.  Our most heartfelt thanks go out to the generosity of an entire community which includes volunteer coaches, and donors, most of whom, were Dody’s kids. 

The First Tee Core Values and Life Skills stem from Respect:  Respect for oneself, Respect for others, and Respect for one’s surroundings.   Indeed, the fuller image of what has occurred here and with the entire First Tee of NH family (12 locations and growing), is that New Hampshire Respects its children, and in doing so, contributes selflessly and collaborates imaginatively to offer The First Tee to every child who wants and needs to play this inspirational game. 

With your support we can continue our efforts to ensure that the answer is a resounding “Yes, the children are well” in all of the communities we serve throughout New Hampshire.                 

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Sincerely,

Chris Sargent
Executive Director