THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Memphis, TN | My LIFE – Germantown/Collierville
Students learn life lessons through golf
By Anne Chambers, Special to My Life
St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown partnered with Memphis Athletic Ministries and the Emmanuel Episcopal Center to teach 12 at-risk youths who attend the center’s after-school program life skills, leadership and about Jesus through the game of golf.
Rodrecus Jackson (front row, from left) , J.C. Johnson, Mekoe Norfleet, Jerome Johnson, Gregory Bell, Charmaine Boone, Terrell Diggs, Detrious Coleman and (back row) Kevon Eskridge learned life skills, leadership and about Jesus while playing golf. The kids are part of the Memphis Athletic Ministry and Emmanuel Episcopal Center program for at-risk youths. St. George’s Church in Germantown partnered in helping with the program.
Thanks to mentors, like Jim McLaughlin, Bob White, and Brad Black, all members of St. George’s Church, coach Lee Brown with the Emmanuel Episcopal Center and the staff at MAM, these 12 young men are learning not only how to face the challenges on the golf course, but more importantly, how to face the challenges that life brings.
“As members of St. George’s, we were looking for an outreach ministry and turned to Louis Holmes at the Emmanuel Episcopal Center for some ideas,” said McLaughlin, one of the three volunteer coaches. “Since golf is a skill that we all have, Louis suggested teaching golf to some of the boys who go to the after-school program at Emmanuel.”
“Being very familiar with the MAM golf program for inner city youth, the Christian values that the kids are taught, and MAM’s successful mentoring practices, I encouraged the St. George’s volunteers and coach Brown to partner with MAM.” said Louis Holmes, Emmanuel Episcopal Center sports director. “I wanted these young men to learn the fundamentals of golf from Vince Alfonso Jr., PGA professional, and MAM’s other coaches in an uplifting, encouraging environment.”
Once these young men master golf fundamentals and are comfortable on the course, they will play golf year-round and participate in golf activities with three other Memphis elementary school programs held at the MAM Park Golf Course. The plan is for these boys to learn golf well enough to be able to participate on a Memphis City Schools golf team.
“Exposing these kids to golf gives them another healthy, wholesome after-school activity,” said Alfonso, MAM director of golf and PGA professional. “And with our involvement, along with the volunteers from St. George’s and coach Brown, these young men will not only become golfers but more importantly, godly young men who are better students, better brothers and better sons.”
Anne Chambers is the communications director for the Memphis Athletic Ministries.