Jenna M.

Today’s #20Storiesin20Days spotlight is on a participant who may be small, but her gracious and helpful personality make her larger than life! Jenna is a second grader and has been a part of The First Tee of Lake County for over 4 years and a LPGA-USGA Girls Golf member for 3 years. Jenna has always put a smile on the face of everyone she meets since joining the program. She is always willing to give a helping hand, whether it’s helping the coaches set-up for a lesson or helping her classmates with the activity. She has participated in many tournaments like the Optimist Junior Classic, Longest Drive contest, Ted Rhodes Junior Golf Skills challenge, Girls Golf Team Championship, and many more. When she is not playing golf she is volunteering within her community and across the country. Her courteous demeanor has garnered her the nickname “Coach Jenna.” Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. So “here here” to the biggest little coach around. #20Storiesin20Days #20years #GivingTuesday

Elijah R.

#20Storiesin20Days is flashing back to shine the spotlight on Alumnus Elijah! There are so many things to share about this Fisk University sophomore golfer. As a participant, Elijah was a member of the Merrilville High School golf team, where he competed at the state level during his senior year. He also participated in NIJGA (Northwest Indiana Junior Golf Association) tournaments, Optimist Junior Club Classics, Ted Rhodes Junior Skills Challenges, the Great Lakes Invitational, and other junior golf leagues and tournaments Not only an Alumnus of The First Tee of Lake County, Elijah is also a life skills instructor. Countless hours spent perfecting his golf skills and knowledge makes him a well-rounded athlete and mentor. His animated and relate-able coaching style has a way of grabbing your attention, whether you are an avid golfer or a beginner. Elijah is a hard worker and is fully dedicated to his craft; in addition to collegiate coursework and matches, Elijah has also volunteered with other organizations. Always stylish, he has a way of bringing out the best in others. His personal integrity and genuineness make him a natural motivator! #20Storiesin20Days #20years #GivingTuesday

Tyler C.

As we continue our #20Storiesin20Days, no one quite sums up The First Tee’s Nine Core Value of perseverance quite like Tyler. He has been a participant with The First Tee of Lake County since 2010. Currently a freshman, Tyler has taken the golf and Life Skills he has learned at our chapter to become an astounding young man on and off the course. The summer of 2018, Tyler was selected to attend his first Life Skills event at the Nancy Tennant Golf & Leadership Academy with The First Tee of Benton Harbor in Michigan. Upon his return, he  shared his stories of the championship courses played, meals prepared for the first time, college toured including his dorm experience, and the friendships developed over the fun filled week. Over the past couple of years, Tyler has played in local junior tournaments (even bringing home a few trophies), joined band, and so much more. With his golf skills and knowledge expanding, he is looking forward to participating in future First Tee, academies, events, and tournaments! To help more children like Tyler get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years #20Storiesin20Days

Alexandra B.

Today’s #20Storiesin20Days spotlight is shining bright on Alexandra. Currently a 5th grader, Alexandra has been a participant with The First Tee of Lake County since 2016 and has remained an avid golfer. Alexandra demonstrates the Nine Core Values in everything she does. She is not only a participant with The First Tee but she is also one of the first members of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program at Lost Marsh. During the 2018 KPMG Phill Day at Soldier Field, Alexandra got a chance to meet her golf role model, Mariah Stackhouse, receive a compliment from Phill Mickelson on her swing, and make her debut on the LPGA Tour Instagram page! Alexandra is an honor student but still makes time to participate in her school’s golf club, attend STEM camps, play tennis, and maintain her participation in theatre. (Whew! That’s a lot!!) It is amazing to see the great golfer she is becoming; there is so much more in store for her. To help more children like Alexandra get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years #20Storiesin20Days

Thomas C.

Today we are going to shine our spotlight on Thomas “Tommy” Castellanos. Tommy has been a part of The First Tee of Lake County more than half of his life. Starting off at age 5, Tommy quickly blossomed in to a great golfer, but an even better young man. Tommy has taken what he has learned from our chapter and has done great things on the golf course. He has racked up numerous wins, including our Adult/ Child Tournament, Ted Rhodes Junior Skills Challenge, and Optimist Classic. He also has participated in the PGA Junior League at our White Hawk Country Club programming site, going undefeated this year with his younger brother David. When he’s not on the links, Tommy and his family spend time giving back to the community, volunteering and fundraising for numerous organizations that help those in need.To help more children like Tommy get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years #20Storiesin20Days

Naomi G.

Naomi is a 7th grader, big sister, and golfer. Because of her passion and love of golf, she practiced every day after lessons. By the end of her first summer, Naomi was able to certify into the next level of programming. She certainly is on her way to Birdie level status. Naomi is not only a participant of The First Tee but she is a member of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program. This summer Naomi was eager to learn how a golf course is ran and expressed an interest in running a golf course in the future. She spent countless hours volunteering, learning about golf course maintenance, and assisting coaches during lessons.  Naomi uses good judgement and encourages those around her. In addition, her level of responsibility in caring for her little sister is heartwarming. She has been a wonderful role model for a sister and the younger girls in Girls Golf. Watching Naomi’s confidence grow and seeing her “come out of her shell” is amazing. Her smile is sure to brighten your day. To help more children like Naomi get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years #20Storiesin20Days

Jasmine M.

Today we are shining on a bright 5th grader named Jasmine for the #20Storiesin20Days Spotlight. Known around the course as “Jazzy”, Jasmine is an avid golfer with a passion words cannot describe. For over 6 years, Jasmine has been member of The First Tee of Hammond/Lake County family. Currently in her golf career, she is a Chicago Drive, Chip & Putt Regional Qualifier, a member of our LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, and so much more. Through the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program, we have seen Jazzy become more social, energetic, and just have fun. During the summer Jazzy has attended almost every girls’ golf event, including our team championship, Race to Rio Olympic-themed event, kite flying days, Earth Days, and vision days. When not playing golf, Jazzy is busy with numerous other activities, including acting, basketball, dancing, and singing. We almost forgot to mention she is a straight “A” student? Jasmine is all about hard work, and perseverance.  Her smile, enthusiasm, and humility make her nickname perfect because there no one more Jazzy than Jasmine. To help more children like Jasmine get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years #20Storiesin20Days

caleb P.

For today’s #20Storiesin20Days spotlight, we’re shining it on “the muscle” of our members, Caleb. This 5th grader has been a member of The First Tee of Hammond/Lake County for over 5 years, first getting involved with his older cousin. With his love of sports, Caleb made time around school and baseball to work on his golf game. Three years ago, he decided to retire his baseball jersey and dedicate his summers to mastering his golf skills. Always persevering and using good judgement has given Caleb even more confidence in his golf knowledge and skill. Rain, snow, or shine, Caleb is always working on his golf swing. This past summer Caleb certified into the par level. Caleb is no stranger to competitive golf. Only a 5th grader, he has already participated The First Tee of Lake County Adult-Child Outing, Drive Chip, and Putt Championship, TED RHODES FOUNDATION, INC. Junior Skills Challenge, Hammond Optimist Junior Club Classic, The First Tee of Lake County Junior Longest Drive for the past 4 years. Along with playing on the golf course, Caleb spent numerous hours volunteering at Lost Marsh learning the importance of golf course maintenance and how he can be responsible on and off the greens. We can surely say he is a mean, green, golfing machine. To help more children like Caleb get access to valuable life skills, click on the “Donate Now” button above. #GivingTuesday #20Years

Gary C.

Gary, known as “G” around Lost Marsh, is a Junior on the varsity golf team at St. Ignatius College Preparatory. Gary has been a participant of The First Tee of Lake County since 2009. Over the past 9 years, “G” has participated in numerous tournaments including national-level events. This past September, 80 participants from The First Tee network were selected for the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, Gary was one of those luck participants. Gary won the Core Values Cup at Pebble Beach and secured a $10,000 college scholarship. Along with attending one of the The First Tee’s largest events, “G” was also selected to attend the 2017 Life Skills and Leadership Academy in East Lansing, Michigan. Gary definitely leaves his mark on everyone he meets, on and off the golf course, with his big smile and contagious laugh. If that wasn’t enough, “G” is a honor student and a self taught pianist. Gary’s perseverance is admirable; he never fails to achieve his goals. #20Storiesin20Days #20years #GivingTuesday