Yonkers MBK Builds Social Capital on the Green
This spring, 10 Yonkers MBK brothers enjoyed friendship, fresh air and a path to social capital through an after school golf program run by The First Tee - Metropolitan New York.
Twice a week, the students came together on the bus from four high schools, developing new friendships on their way to the Game On Golf Center in White Plains. They worked with First Tee Coach Paul Giordano, an amiable PGA golf professional with a degree in child psychology. “These are great kids. I really enjoy the time I spend with them,” said Mr. Giordano, who imparts life skills and leadership lessons as he teaches his students how to correctly stand, grip a club and swing. “I enjoy watching them enjoy golf. The MBK students are extremely respectful to each other and fun to be around.”
Mr. Giordano has been a coach for 18 years for First Tee, a national nonprofit that seeks to, “shape the lives of young people from all walks of life by reinforcing values like integrity, respect and perseverance through the game of golf,” according to its website.
First Tee recently rewarded the students with a Nike golf bag and a set of golf clubs donated by private individuals. In addition to brotherly bonding, these budding golfers know they are preparing themselves to expand their social networks, which could open doors to future life opportunities. Valuable business connections and friendships are often forged on the green. “Business deals happen on the golf course,” said Klanell Lee, one of the participants. However, having the time and finances to acquire golf skills and reserve tee times is often out of reach for Yonkers’ young men.
Yonkers MBK offers students many paths to enhancing their social capital, including shadowing professionals at work, networking with city and state leaders, and meeting prominent national figures who participate in MBK empowerment sessions. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada said, “We are grateful to our partner, First Tee, for enriching the lives of these young men and offering them a new avenue to build valuable social capital.”