TPC & First Tee aim to teach Jacksonville students life skills

The Players Championship and First Tee of North Florida held an open house Monday for a new leadership program for local students called Rising Leaders of Jax. (Submitted)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Monday marks 50 days until The Players Championship. And to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, TPC held an open house with First Tee of North Florida and Duval County Public Schools to unveil a new program for local students.

First Tee has been impacting the lives of young people throughout Northeast Florida for years. This year, the group is helping to kick start a new program called Rising Leaders of Jax for the school district. The goal is to teach students leadership skills that will help them succeed.

Mombo Ngu, an alumnus of First Tee, said the organization isn’t just about golf — it has taught her many skills that are valuable outside of sports, including being kinder to herself.

“Sometimes you can get so frustrated, it can be very difficult for not wanting this to go your way,” Ngu said. “But then you have to take time to step back and look at the bigger picture and then go on from there. And I think that’s a skill that translated to every aspect of life.”

She’s not alone. Miniya McNair, a high school senior and First Tee student, said the skills she has acquired have applications in her daily life as well.

“Not only do they teach us golf skills here, but they also teach us life skills,” McNair said. “And it’s really been helpful when it comes to my skills and my community work.”

This is the pilot year for the new leadership program and it’s worth mentioning that Monday was an open house to gauge interest in the program. Ultimately, 30 middle schools students will be selected from schools near Brentwood Golf Course off Golfair Boulevard.

Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene hopes students will make the most of this opportunity. “Too many people are standing on the sidelines watching the game instead of getting in the game,” Greene said.

First Tee of North Florida aims to change students’ lives through initiatives that help them build character, leadership skills and other tools that will help them get the most out of life. To learn more about the organization’s mission, visit First Tee’s website.

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