Fighting Gangs With Golf - My9 New Jersey

Fighting Gangs With Golf

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MY9TV.COM--These middle school kids are spending their summer learning golf.
They learn driving and putting.
And courtesy on the golf course.
But there's a lot more.

Golf Pro Chaz Moses says: "Golf we call a game of life. It the only self-governing sport among many. So you have to make your own calls on the golf course and make the kids understand it's a lot like life."

Kean University Occupational Therapy Professor Jennifer Gardner says: "Many of the youth that are in our program this summer live here in the Newark community and have shared with us that they are exposed to the violence to gang activity"

And that's the real purpose of this 6-week summer camp.
To take at-risk kids from the mean streets of the Newark area, and point them in the right direction.

"Take another swing and hit the ground...Good"

Then after two hours of golf led by local pro Chaz Moses, they gather for their life lessons.

Mandie Maddox says: "This game is called the great egg putt."

Mandie Maddox is an Occupational Therapy student from nearby Kean University, which runs this program.
And during this session she is helping the kids understand the importance of dealing with personal challenges.
How?
By building a protective cover for a raw egg.
Using newspaper, tape, straws and other material.

Mandie Maddox says: "The goal first aand foremost is for the kids to have fun.  They are adolescents and we want all activites to be fun."

The goal of this activity is to protect the egg, so it doesn't crack when Chaz Moses slams it down the fairway.

"Ooh, it cracked."

But still the life skills lesson was learned.

12 Year old DeShaun Warfield says: "Life is like the egg and you need to sure you protect it, but at the same time you need to build up your endurance and make yourself stronger so you don't be weak."

But that's not the only lesson these kids are learning from golf.

12 Year Old Ty Ayooluwa says: "We learned about 9 codes of conduct, like respect honesty, commitment and all..."

And the program continues after the summer, with weekly 3-hour sessions after school.

Professor Gardner says: "The overall goal of Parfore is to work with youth to help build self-esteem, feel good, help them grow into successful mature adults."

It seems to be working, thanks to golf.... and eggs.

Ty Ayooluwa says: "When we covered it up, we have protection, like our parents, like police officers or authority like to protect us."

Brenda Flanagan, The 10 O'Clock News.

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