All Entries:

Golf Supports Our Troops; Madison, NJ

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Golf Supports Our Troops (www.golfsupportsourtroops.org) aims to improve the lives of wounded and disabled veterans and active duty troops through the game of golf. As a 501(c)3 public more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Golf Supports Our Troops (www.golfsupportsourtroops.org) aims to improve the lives of wounded and disabled veterans and active duty troops through the game of golf. As a 501(c)3 public charity, we provide golf training and exercise equipment to recreational and physical therapy programs at Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals nationwide; to date equipment has been donated to 203 facilities. Our organization also sends recreational golf equipment to military units serving overseas, donating over 23,000 golf clubs, tens of thousands of golf balls, golf driving nets, putting mats and more to active duty troops. In addition, we host disabled veterans at PGA Tour events and have provided financial support to other veterans' charities. Our latest initiative, which we call Heroes Greens, is to provide wheelchair accessible, synthetic putting greens to VA hospitals with spinal cord injury units. We want to provide these special needs patients with access to recreational golf. Four VA facilities with spinal cord injury units in Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Virginia have been identified for the putting greens, serving as "beta" sites where the benefits of wheelchair golf can be evaluated by the VA staff. What winning this prize means for our organization: Golf Supports Our Troops has to raise funds for all of our golf equipment donation programs, which is especially challenging in today's economy. This effort is a labor of love, as no one in our organization receives any form of compensation for their efforts on behalf of veterans. We are proud to have the opportunity to provide a useful service to our wounded and disabled veterans. Winning this prize would allow us to fund impactful projects, including another green donation to the VA. less »

Society for Handicapped Children/Adults

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Formed in 1947, the Society for Handicapped Children & Adults; Modesto, CA (www.societyforhandicapped.org) enhances the quality of life and self-sufficiency of those with disabilities more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Formed in 1947, the Society for Handicapped Children & Adults; Modesto, CA (www.societyforhandicapped.org) enhances the quality of life and self-sufficiency of those with disabilities in the California Central Valley area. We achieve this mission through our various programs and services, including our medical equipment Loan Closet, adaptive recreation programs (winter ski, water ski, bike camp, day on the farm, horseback riding, annual special needs Prom), educational programs (such as sign language), resource and referral services, advocacy assistance and workforce development (job training in our thrift store). Over 87,000 people in Stanislaus County have a disability according to the 2010 US Census, so the organization’s impact is tremendous. We operate without government funding, relying on community business partnerships, donations, grants and generosity from our community as a whole. What winning this prize means for our organization: It is our dream to build an accessible playground so children with diverse abilities can play side by side. Receiving this turf would help us get on our way to making this dream a reality. Inclusion is of the utmost importance to us; having a playground where children can play side by side with their peers, regardless of their disability, is desperately needed. Often children with disabilities, and adults, feel isolated, sit on the sidelines and are left unable to participate in activities that average children enjoy. Our dream playground would break down these limitations and barriers. There is no accessible park like the one we are planning for in Stanislaus County or in neighboring counties, and it would be greatly utilized. Creating an accessible synthetic turf playground is the next step for us and our experience in advocating and working with those with disabilities enhances our opportunity for success. Video submitted: http://youtu.be/9Pf0YXidNhA less »

Button Hole; Providence, RI

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Button Hole (www.buttonhole.org) partners with local schools and community agencies to provide urban youth with the chance to develop strong character and learn life-long values, inclu more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Button Hole (www.buttonhole.org) partners with local schools and community agencies to provide urban youth with the chance to develop strong character and learn life-long values, including perseverance, honesty and integrity, through lessons in golf. For the past 12 years, we have had an impact on the lives of over 15,000 youth who have been introduced to golf at our short course and teaching center through lessons, clinics, in-school, after-school and summer programs, special events and tournaments involving over 30 community and social service agencies and schools. An estimated 78 percent of the youth we serve live in families with incomes below the poverty level. Last year, more than 2,600 students primarily between the ages of seven to 17 were served; over 2,100 received scholarships from Button Hole. We collaborate with other local agencies including schools, after-school programs and community agencies including the Special Olympics to expand our reach to kids with disabilities as well as those in financial need. Outreach efforts also benefit senior citizens, disabled children and veterans, and the military. What winning this prize means for our organization: Putting synthetic turf in the teaching area would dramatically expand our ability to continue to achieve and increase our mission, allowing Button Hole to transition from a seasonal teaching facility to a year round educational facility. Our programs at Button Hole have made a tremendous impact on the school performance, self-esteem, confidence and self-worth development of the kids we serve, while enhanced outreach to children with disabilities has placed us in the forefront of melding youth golf and accessibility. Because there is no other indoor golfing facility in the state, this physical improvement would create another revenue stream to ensure that thousands of young people annually continue to benefit mentally, physically, and emotionally from their participation in our programs. Video submitted: www.buttonhole.org (click on video) less »

Hope Animal Rescues Godfrey, IL

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Hope Animal Rescues (www.hoperescues.com) is committed to engaging and serving local communities of people and animals. We are a state-licensed, nonprofit, all-volunteer, no-kill anima more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Hope Animal Rescues (www.hoperescues.com) is committed to engaging and serving local communities of people and animals. We are a state-licensed, nonprofit, all-volunteer, no-kill animal rescue that saves dogs on their last day of life from animal control facilities. Our goals are to promote spay/neuter, stop the use of gas chambers to kill our homeless pets, and to educate people on how to treat all animals with respect and dignity. To date we have saved 1,920 dogs and re-homed 1,785 dogs through our adoption program. At present we have 135 dogs that are waiting for their second chance. We take the old and the young, all breeds and mixes, the sick and the well, the meek and the bold, and all of the dogs that are desperately looking for a forever home. It is our passionate responsibility to provide a safe haven for animals that have overcome abuse, neglect, and the simple fact that they were unwanted. What winning this prize means for our organization: Our high population numbers, area drought and limited maintenance funds are inhibiting our ability to have a healthy outdoor environment in which our dogs can play and exercise. In our current state dogs track mud or dirt, depending on the weather, through the kennels and walkways. Community volunteers, our greatest resource, spend a great deal of time trying to keep the dogs’ living spaces clean when they would rather focus on the positive human interaction that makes animal rehabilitation possible. Providing a grassy area to play and exercise, the installation of synthetic turf at Hope Animal Rescues will make an immense and positive impact on our ability to save resources and to help us provide a more sanitary outdoor environment for our animals. With resources saved through this prize, we will also be better able to enhance the outreach and educational programs that saves dogs’ lives. Video submitted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKuBXXicopI less »

Peninsula YMCA/First Tee Newport News VA

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Peninsula YMCA (www.thefirstteevapeninsula.org) started a chapter of The First Tee less than two years ago. Although we offered numerous other wellness and athletic programs, golf more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Peninsula YMCA (www.thefirstteevapeninsula.org) started a chapter of The First Tee less than two years ago. Although we offered numerous other wellness and athletic programs, golf instruction was not available. Our vision is to be one day be in every school and active at every golf course on the Virginia Peninsula, teaching life skills through golf. We want our children, these future citizens, to know how to be the best person they can in life by embracing respect and honesty. Currently, we lack dedicated space for golf instruction and our staff has to rely on community grounds that aren’t being used. In many cases, the grass isn’t conducive to teaching particular strokes and hinders a youth’s golf development. What winning this prize means for our organization: By winning the synthetic turf installation, Peninsula YMCA staff estimate they could serve four times as many kids in their golf program. It would provide dedicated space for lessons and conditions that are similar to a golf course setting. Finally, we hope to win the prize to increase awareness and recognition of the program in the community. less »

City of Refuge; Atlanta, GA

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. For 16 years, the City of Refuge (www.cityofrefugeatl.org) has offered light, hope and transformation to the last, lost and least of Atlanta. We house 225 homeless women and children, more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. For 16 years, the City of Refuge (www.cityofrefugeatl.org) has offered light, hope and transformation to the last, lost and least of Atlanta. We house 225 homeless women and children, provide full meal service, childcare, after school program, on-site middle and high school, vocational training, medical/mental health/dental clinic, and resources to assist folks get back on their feet and move forward to successful, contributing lives. The neighborhood we serve ranks extremely low in education test scores and graduation rates, extremely high in crime, drugs, homelessness, and other areas detrimental to successful lifestyle. More than 30% of our population lives between the federal definitions of poverty. Located in an inner-city neighborhood, we do not have green space for our kids to enjoy and have to protect the children from serious crime issues. The installation of synthetic turf in an open area of warehouse will provide thousands of feet of play area that will be used for volleyball, four square, kick ball and other sports and activities. What winning this prize means for our organization: Since we are located in a high crime, drug infested neighborhood, there are few, if any, safe places to play or enjoy recreational activities. The residents, summer campers, and students do not have access to grassy areas or athletic fields. New synthetic turf located within the City of Refuge would provide green space for sports and games in a safe, supervised area. The kids and their parents could enjoy the freedom of play without fear of the crime or drugs in the neighborhood that surrounds them. Both children who live on campus and those from our neighborhood will benefit from the space. We offer 10 weeks of summer day camp for kids from at-risk environments and hundreds of children will enjoy the space daily during summer while others will use the space year round. The space will give daily opportunities for physical activity, games, enjoyment, and will support our desire that our kids see life through different lenses. less »

The Children's Course; Gladstone, OR

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Children's Course/The First Tee of Greater Portland (www.thefirstteegreaterportland.org) has provided youth-education programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values a more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Children's Course/The First Tee of Greater Portland (www.thefirstteegreaterportland.org) has provided youth-education programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf since 1996. Youth learn the fundamentals of the game onsite at The Children's Course (TCC)—a nine-hole, par 3 golf course with a five-hole teaching and learning center in Gladstone, Oregon. Our primary goal for 2013 is to increase the number of youth we serve by 10%—from 6,000 youth in 2012 to 6,600. We are the only course in the state that provides unrestricted access to children and families seven days a week, and our primary focus is to work with children who are low-income, at-risk, or who have special needs. However, the five older synthetic greens and tees that make up our 5-hole teaching and learning facility have exceeded their useful life and attempting to play on them is not a rewarding experience. This has a negative impact on our programming, hinders practice and limits the number of youth that we can serve when those parts of our facility are not in use. What winning this prize means for our organization: The synthetic turf installation is needed to provide the highest quality First Tee program to as many local youth as possible, which will impact the health, well-being and academic resilience of the children we serve, and benefit their families and the community as a whole. With new greens and tees, more classes can be held at The Children's Course/The First Tee learning center. Without the use of these greens (as they remain in their current state), we are forced to practice and teach on certain holes on the 9-hole golf course, ultimately closing the course to the general public during certain hours of the day, limiting our availability as a community resource. In the Greater Portland Metro Area, where it can rain for days or weeks at a time, this prize would restore all elements of our course to their best and highest use, and maximize our ability to provide a safe and rewarding golf experience to children, their families and friends. less »

Island Creek Park; Buggs Island, NC

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Island Creek Park on Kerr Lake/Buggs Island Lake, which is on the Virginia and North Carolina border, is being developed into a 100% wheelchair accessible family recreational facil more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. The Island Creek Park on Kerr Lake/Buggs Island Lake, which is on the Virginia and North Carolina border, is being developed into a 100% wheelchair accessible family recreational facility for patients at local Veteran Affairs Medical Centers in Salem, VA, Richmond, VA, and Durham, NC. Spurred by a huge demand for recreational therapy programs for hospitalized and recently discharged patients with polytrauma related to combat wounds, our objective is to create a safe, wholesome, and family oriented recreational activity facility on Kerr Lake for patients, loved ones, and care-givers. The area has been used by local medical center recreational therapy departments for the past three years. Expanding it into a year-round facility will help hundreds of individuals annually adjust back to civilian life. Too often, after initially being treated as heroes, the people that serve our country are forgotten in the years to come. We hope to positively impact their lives as well as their families, not only in the present, but for the many years left in these young lives as well. This facility is the first of what is hoped to be many of its kind throughout this great country of ours. The concept is to make recreation accessible and convenient for the men and women throughout our country who have served her and experienced events that will affect the rest of their lives. Those of us that have not experienced these situations cannot relate, but we can help by providing avenues to occupy and stimulate the minds of those that have. What winning this prize means for our organization: This prize would give us a head start in creating an atmosphere conducive to our vision of providing therapy, recreation, and rejuvenating experiences to those that have sacrificed so much for their families, our country, and people they do not even know. Brad Clayton has been using golf as therapy to help Wounded Vets for seven plus years; the benefits of golf for those that complete his program have been very helpful in many ways. The synthetic turf will help establish a convenient learning area to introduce golf as a therapy to those in need of reengaging in social activity to help them establish confidence, balance, patience, nurture the desire to compete and get better, and many other positive aspects golf provides to everyone that embraces the true nature of the game as a whole. In addition, the prize would also be used to create a social gathering and a play area for everyone - especially for children that accompany their parents to the facility. less »

Alma Pre-School, Castro Valley, CA

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Alma Pre-School, Castro Valley Unified School District (www.cv.k12.ca.us/schools/alma-pre-school) specializes in meeting the needs of severely disabled children. Our program specifica more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. Alma Pre-School, Castro Valley Unified School District (www.cv.k12.ca.us/schools/alma-pre-school) specializes in meeting the needs of severely disabled children. Our program specifically supports approximately 70 children with a variety of disabilities including autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, global delays, intellectual deficits, speech and language deficits, and severe attention issues. With the support of our program, children are equipped to transition to kindergarten with greater success. Because of the special needs of our children, traditional playground equipment is inadequate to assist with the types of gross motor development many of our student’s needs. Equipment for our playground should be more accessible to meet multiple student needs and more focused on strengthening motor development. Creating this type of outside environment is extremely expensive, but necessary in order to help our children reach their maximum physical potential. The prize will provide resources to create a playground that is safe and more accessible for play as well as therapeutic needs. What winning this prize means for our organization: Our students are incredibly active and involved during their time at Alma, not just in the classroom but outside as well. The more we can provide them with a solid support system inside the classroom and outside of it, the better equipped we are at making the most out of their early interventions. The turf prize would allow for a safer, better utilized, and more accessible area for the students to work on and play on. The students would be able to strengthen their motor skills and have a safer area to play on. Ultimately though, it provides for a more accessible setting, particularly for those students in wheelchairs, who have physical impairments, or are blind. Alma pre-school provides up to six amazing programs for its students, with multiple services intertwined within them. It is our hope that with this prize, the playground will be on its way to becoming just as amazing for an incredible group of students who deserve nothing less. Video submitted: http://youtu.be/hi8TSG-lyxY less »

NW Louisiana Youth Golf; Shreveport, LA

by Dakota H

Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. For the past decade, the First Tee of Northwest Louisiana (www.thefirstteenwlouisiana.org) has worked hard to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people by providing lear more » Please click the thumbnail image to the left to view more and vote for your favorite finalist. For the past decade, the First Tee of Northwest Louisiana (www.thefirstteenwlouisiana.org) has worked hard to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development, healthy choices and life enhancing values through the game of golf. Our organization serves youths in an inner-city community who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience the game of golf and its core values. With childhood obesity levels on the rise in our community and nationwide, creating more opportunities for kids to be active is also one of our top priorities. However our current practice facility needs to be renovated, we lack a place for youth to play when the weather is inclement, and our organization dreams of having an accessible surface that can more readily accommodate kids with disabilities. What winning this prize means for our organization: This summer, we plan to start a renovation project that includes completing our driving range and putting surface. Synthetic turf could play a big part in the renovation of our practice facility and the beautification of the community we serve. Part of the turf prize could be used to cover our current swing set and play area, creating an accessible space that will encourage kids of all ability levels to exercise and interact more with others. Winning this installation would transform how we can shape young lives, encourage greater levels of activity and further their self-confidence and esteem. less »

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