Franklin Elementary became a TFTSV DRIVE partner in the Fall of 2018 and continued to deliver the DRIVE curriculum to their participants throughout the academic year. Franklin Elementary is located in east San Jose and is a Title 1 school meaning most of their participants are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Their afterschool program is delivered by Catholic Charities CORAL program, run by Paula Laura.
The youth leader/coach at the school is Kyle Ouellette. Kyle had tried to introduce his students to golf by purchasing clubs with his own money, but the equipment he purchased had its limitations especially in a school setting. Still Kyle believed in golf and the value it could bring to his students. According to Kyle, “the majority of the students would have never been given the opportunity to be a part of this program, swing a golf club, set foot on a golf course, or even know what golf is. It was a personal achievement for me to be able to see the life skills and core values being brought to the children.” With each DRIVE lesson, Kyle delivered the Nine Core Values into the games every Friday.
Over the months of running DRIVE, Kyle noticed his students were progressing, not just with their golf skills but with their behavior. He said, “Our students began to have in depth and passionate conversations about how they see and use the core values in their school setting. Even our students with behavior issues were speaking up and demonstrating our core values with one another.” The Core Values also helped establish a supportive and positive culture and community. “These kids go through major bullying and come from families that endure a lot of hardships. It is such a joy to see that this program has impacted them in such a positive way and became a safe space for them to learn and have fun,” he elaborated. DRIVE was a positive force for students, especially those that as Kyle said, were not comfortable coming to school. For those students “DRIVE was their motivation and something positive to look forwards to.”
Not only did the students benefit from the program, but according to Kyle “the impact was also felt by the parents and teachers. They have expressed their appreciation in the positive change that they have seen in their kids.”
At the conclusion of each DRIVE cycle, he rewarded the students by taking them on a field trip to our affiliated golf course, Rancho del Pueblo where TFTSV staff set up a typical TFTSV class for the students to enjoy. Over the seven months of DRIVE, Kyle saw an enormous turnaround with his DRIVE students and thanked TFTSV for the impact it had the children!”
Over 100 of his students experienced DRIVE classes and after the field trip, several of the students signed up for our 8-lesson golf course session. The First Tee of Silicon Valley team thanks Kyle, Ms. Paula and Franklin team for their outstanding dedication to their youth. TFTSV and Franklin will continue to partner and bring DRIVE to more participants in 2019/2020!
For more information on our DRIVE program please visit our Youth Outreach page. If you would like your organization or school to consider adding DRIVE, please contact your school’s principal or your program’s site director and have him/her contact Chris Moreno-Hunt.
If you are interested in becoming a coach and giving back like Klye, it is not too late. Please visit our Volunteer page.
If you are interested in joining a TFTSV 8-class golf course session like the Franklin students, please visit our Youth Classes page. Registration is open now until August 27th. Our 8-class golf course program is open to all and has affordable scholarships starting as low as $20.