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Ace Foundation Wins Major Grant from United States Golf Association

Oakland Program for Inner City Youth Tees Off for the Future 

Oakland, CA February 19, 2004 – The Ace Foundation today announced its fifth consecutive grant award from the United States Golf Association.  The $15,000 award will be applied toward expenses for course and driving range access, instructor wages, and a psychology graduate school intern to coordinate life skills and leadership measurements for Ace Kids Golf programs. 

Founded by Henry Loubet and Tom Williams in 1998, Ace Kids Golf was created to introduce less-advantaged youth to the game.  The program was designed to help keep kids off the street, and on the green.  Providing everything from transportation to equipment and instruction to students age 9-17, Ace makes it easy for any youth-oriented organization to add golf to its offerings at a very low-cost.  In just five-years over 1000 inner city youth in the Oakland area have benefited through this highly successful service model.        

“It’s about outreach and teamwork,” explains founder Henry Loubet.  “Seventy-five percent of our participants are African-American, and we have almost 50 percent female participation,” he adds.  “Most participants come from single-parent households and inner-city neighborhoods that are hotspots for crime.  We introduce them to the safe, beautiful environment that golf courses offer and a sport that teaches life-skills which extend beyond the game itself.”  

Four levels of golf instruction are offered directly through the Ace Kids Golf Center in Oakland, and through partnerships with other youth organizations.  From the six-week introduction, also known as Ace Boot Camp, through advanced instruction, the “Ace Club” mentorship program and pilot projects including Golf in Education, Girls in Golf and Business and Golf, instructors use an integrated approach to teach the basic fundamentals of the sport along with core values of excellence, respect and dignity.   

“We get the kids outside, doing rather than watching,” founder Tom Williams explains, “and incorporate themes like honesty, self-discipline, trust, patience and responsibility into our instruction on the course.”   

The program also teaches academic skills, from mathematics to communications.  Participants learn to keep score and figure the distance from the ball to the green, and are required to use proper terminology rather than slang - communicating in the universal language of golf.  Etiquette and respect are emphasized both on and off the course, and students routinely interact with adult golfers and industry professionals.    

The benefit to students is evident.  “Through golf they learn to listen and to focus,” observes Ace Executive Director and head instructor Jeff Callaway.  “We see student behavior, courtesy and sportsmanship improve over even a two-week course of instruction.” 

Ace is currently conducting a major fundraising drive to support its after school and summer programs in 2004.  The cost for each child is just $250.  Cash contributions and individual sponsorships are encouraged, and donations of quality equipment, supplies and accessories are also accepted.  Organizations and individuals can contact Jeff Callaway at 510.238.2196 to make donations or learn more about participating in Kids Golf programs.   

“An investment in Ace is an investment in the future,” notes Loubet.  “Golf gives kids an outlet.  It helps them become winners, in life and on the course.”   

About Ace: The Ace Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports Ace Kids Golf.  Its purpose is to ensure that less-advantaged youth receive a thorough awareness of the game and its positive values, by providing them with a quality experience.  The program not only teaches the sport of golf, but teamwork, cooperation, and the development of one’s potential. 

Ace currently serves youth from the City of Oakland’s 12 community recreation centers, as well as local schools, YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs. Golf Lessons are offered throughout the year at Lake Chabot, Montclair, Gailbraith Driving Range and the Ace Kids Golf Center.   

To learn more about Kids Golf programs visit www.acekidsgolf.com, or call 510.238.2196.  Send email to golfersinvisible@aol.com.