Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Atlanta Mayor’s Youth Program Participants “Tee Up” for College

Rodriguez Lowery, Brandon Bradley, Eric Davis, Shelton Davis, and Willie Brown, all graduates of Southside High School located in East Atlanta, received a $250.00 gift card, a laptop, and financial assistance to cover any needs unmet by the golf scholarships they received from Talladega College, Grambling State University, and Winston State University. Mayor Shirley Franklin and Tony Dozier, President and CEO of TDC Systems Integration were on hand to present the awards before the students left for their fall semesters.

Lowery, Davis, and Brown have been playing golf together since they were children at the East Lake Junior Golf Academy, now called the First Tee of East Lake. In 1995, the East Lake Foundation was established to provide new opportunities for families who live in the East Lake Community in Atlanta and improve the neighborhood through diverse after-school programs, including a golf program. The students were exposed to opportunities to play various courses, meet professionals, and attend PGA tournaments.

One of those opportunities came in the form of meeting Dozier, who also sits on the board of the Friends of the First Tee of East Lake Foundation at the East Lake Country Club. Dozier, who has been an avid supporter of the Mayor’s Youth Program, recognized an opportunity to advocate for these five students and help direct them to colleges where they could play golf and receive an excellent education.

Three of the students, Lowery, Davis, and Brown, were advised by Dozier to apply to Talladega College. Talladega’s golf team had been the 1997 golf champions, but they had not had a team for the past several years. Dozier met Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, President of Talladega College at a recent UNCF luncheon. Following the event Mr. Dozier began working with College officials to establish a new partnership and he initiated meetings for the students to meet the golf coach. Dozier was confident that Lowery, Davis and Brown could revive the schools defunct golf team. Other students, Brandon Bradley and Shelton Davis, are attending Grambling State University and Winston Salem State University with partial golf scholarships.

“The Mayor’s Youth Program has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many Atlanta students who need encouragement and assistance. I’m delighted to play a small role in seeing these East Lake First Tee golfers get an education and much needed support from Mayor Franklin and Deborah Lum,” said Dozier.

Shirley Franklin’s vision for the Mayor’s Youth Program strives to bring together business and community leaders in a way that provides opportunities for Atlanta’s youth to prosper. Through the program, relationships are fostered to promote advocacy for the students who have little knowledge of how to gage the process of choosing an appropriate college, applying, and paying for it. The program receives contributions from Atlanta’s corporate community and major non-profit donors in the form of financial contributions, volunteerism, internships, and student mentoring.

“Creating a plan for their future through the Mayor’s Youth Program, many students’ lives have been forever changed. It is our responsibility as a community to further assist them as they become active members in our community and the leaders of tomorrow,” said Mayor Franklin.

Since it’s inception in 2005, the Mayor’s Youth Program has assisted over 1,800 students transition into over 150 colleges and universities with grants, books, housing, transportation and encouragement. Already this year, over 330 students from the class of 2008 have received financial assistance to help cover their unmet needs and are fully engaged in making real world plans for their lives after High School.
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