Union-supported programs receive major boost

More students throughout the Capital District will be exposed to the mentoring and physical benefits of the game of golf thanks to a generous donation to the “First Tee” and “Hook a Kid on Golf” programs.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares presented a check for more than $13,000 to the Junior Golf Alliance of New York (JGA) to fund summer programs for Albany youth designed to provide character education and mentoring. The money comes from the “Making Crime Pay” program, which is funded by assets seized from criminals that are then used to support community initiatives and law enforcement.

“These programs have a track record of success in bringing the game of golf to kids, while providing guidance and mentoring,” Soares said. “These programs will provide facilities and educational programs designed to promote character development and values through golf.”

The JGA has joined with NYSUT, the Northeastern New York Section of the Professional Golfers’ Association, and Hook a Kid on Golf leaders to bring the First Tee program to schools in the Capital District.

“NYSUT is proud to partner with the Junior Golf Alliance and bring this program to Albany schools and other school districts in the capital area,” said Cathy Corbo, president of the Albany Public School Teachers Association. “First Tee engages students in a structured golf curriculum that promotes character development within a physical education setting. By working with the JGA, we are reaching kids in a new and exciting way. This is a program we can all get behind. Golf is a wonderful game and the kids have really embraced the ‘First Tee’ program in Albany.”

Physical education teachers are uniquely qualified to integrate the golf program into their day-to-day lesson objectives, Corbo said. They know how to teach the motor skills golf requires and many already teach character and healthy habits as part of their curriculum. This spring, Albany physical education teachers were able to share the First Tee introduction to golf and life’s values with children in two elementary schools.

Seven NYSUT locals — APSTA, Guilderland Central TA, Newburgh TA, Saratoga Springs TA, Schenectady Federation of Teachers, Troy TA and Voorheesville TA — have launched First Tee programs in 10 schools. Working through the JGA, the locals are raising funds to buy golf equipment. NYSUT is also helping out by supporting the training needed for physical education teachers.

Cathy Corbo, president of the Albany Public School TA, discusses the benefits of the First Tee program.

Cathy Corbo, president of the Albany Public School TA, discusses the benefits of the First Tee program.

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