Published: July 2, 2014

Helping teens tee up for lifelong success

By: Melissa Delekta Media Communications melissa.delekta@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Penny Davis Media Communications office: (517) 355-5158 penny.davis@cabs.msu.edu

In Detroit, the last thing on the typical teenager's mind is golf; however, the Midnight Golf program is changing all of that.

Through its 30-week empowerment program Midnight Golf insists that the participants, who come from across Detroit’s neighborhoods, learn more than just the game of golf.

John Ambrose, associate director for Inclusion and Strategic Planning at Michigan State University, dedicates his time each week to be a mentor to some of the 1,000-plus participants in the program.

“Working with a different group every year gives me an opportunity to stay directly connected to the problem and the answer, and the students represent both,” Ambrose said. “Many of the youth face staggering challenges but Midnight Golf inspires them to understand that they have the power to change their world and the world around them.”

The program, which meets twice weekly, includes golf lessons taught by PGA of America professionals as well as life skills taught by business, human service, and educational professionals. MGP focuses on eight core values; accountability, caring, empowerment, exposure, integrity, quality, relevance, and respect.

Ambrose was immediately attracted to the program for two reasons, “volunteering is in my blood and the opportunity to push education through building hope.”

Michigan State University was also attracted to the program. MSU is currently a sponsor of the program as well as providing scholarships to qualifying MGP participants headed to MSU to further their education.

“MSU has been a fantastic supporter of the program,” Ambrose said. The Midnight Golf connection does not dissipate once the students reach MSU and neither does Ambrose’s interaction with them.

“A small group of MGP alumni got together and established a registered student organization at MSU and they asked me to serve as their graduate advisor,” Ambrose said.

Currently 148 MGP students have gone on to MSU, 12 having graduated this past May and six incoming freshmen are recipients of the MSU-MNG scholarship.

“This program is helping to change the atmosphere and expectations of students for years to come,” Ambrose said.

The Midnight Golf participants and mentors on a trip to Washington D.C. Photo Courtesy of Midnight Golf

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