Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation
3030 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL 33761
Our program is based on love and respect, one that builds confidence, instills discipline and provides positive educational experiences. A unique forum was chosen - the golf course. Golf is frequently considered the game of successful people who provide excellent role models for Chi Chi's Kids. Golf also requires self-control, responsibility and respect for others. Outstanding athletic ability, size and dexterity are not necessary to participate. Success for Chi Chi's Kids had to be through (as Chi Chi said), "love, understanding, compassion, and self-esteem." Though Chi Chi was raised in a poor family, it was rich in all of those qualities.
The target group for Foundation's activities are children ranging in ages from 5 to 11. They continue in the programs through high school. We currently have over 500 "kids" in our program ranging in age from 5 to 17.
All of the candidates for the programs are referred by either the Pinellas County School System, (which consists of 81 elementary and 22 middle schools), private counselors or psychologists, community agencies, and, in the case of one program, the court system.
In order to be accepted into the program, the children must meet two or more of the following requirements: (1) abused; (2) from a single parent home; (3) on some form of government assistance; (4) have poor grades; (5) be socially withdrawn; (6) have had minor scrapes with law enforcement.
The Foundation uses a holistic approach in its programs. Emphasis is placed on tutoring, life management, social skills, personal grooming, business skills, consumer education, reading enhancement, retail, art, landscaping, and golf. Golf was chosen as a key ingredient for the program because it does not require unusual size, speed, or strength for excellence. The sport does, however, require personal discipline, concentration, honesty, and tenacity. These qualities plus exposure to role models of successful adult golfers made the game a natural choice.
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