Impact of TGR Foundation, Earl Woods Scholar Program felt in LA – and far beyond
February 15, 2019
By Doug Milne, Jr., PGATOUR.COM
- February 15, 2019
- Yohanne Ndoumbe, an Earl Woods Scholar, is surprised by her mother, Martine, flown in by United Airlines from Washington D.C. to LA for this week’s Genesis Open. (TGR Foundation)
As much as anyone, Tiger Woods understands mankind’s natural inclination to rise above. It’s a universal tendency that originates from one of two places; want or need.
Woods’ insatiable desire to be the best the game of golf has ever seen continues to blow the minds of even the biggest skeptics. More significant, though, are the results which came from his need to come up big.
In short, his desire to be the best is a one-man show. His need to emerge from physical and emotional setbacks has been contingent on help from others.
For more than two decades now – pre-dating even his first Masters title in 1997 – through the TGR Foundation, Woods has made it his prerogative to help countless individuals and families find hope and opportunity in a setting where it may otherwise be next to impossible.
Through the TGR Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholar Program, financial assistance affords students the chance to further their passions and desires through an education that would otherwise not likely be feasible.
And, nowhere is that help more evident than at this week’s Genesis Open at The Riviera Country Club. Not only does the TGR Foundation open doors to brighter futures, but it unites people from all walks of life and sets them up to where rising above becomes an exciting desire.
Karina Ramirez grew up in a modest apartment with her parents and two brothers in a Southern California area affected by gang activity. Karina, her mother and brother experienced first-hand some of that violence prevalent in their community. To make ends meet, her father has worked hard finding jobs where he could to provide for his family.
“My parents past struggles serve me as a constant reminder that to achieve my goals, hardships will always be present,” Karina said. “But, it is the way I face those hardships that help me shape the person I am.”
Thanks to TGR Foundation, that spot-on attitude is now firmly in place to guide her into a promising future. Karina attended Oxford Academy High School and is presently an undergrad studying Economics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.
“As an Earl Woods Scholar, I have a second family I can count on for anything,” said Karina. “I have yet to find out what my future will hold, but I know that I will have the skills to be successful. This program develops each individual in multiple aspects. We are all driven to find what makes us fulfilled in life and plan to give back.”
Esmerelda Solis’ parents left Mexico as teenagers in search of brighter days in America. To this day, they work tirelessly to provide the best for their children.
Through the Earl Woods Scholar Program, not only is Esmerelda a second-year student at UCLA with a passion to become a veterinarian, but she has also been able to find solace in her circumstances.
“Their sacrifices have become the fire beneath my feet that keeps me moving forward,” Esmerelda said. “They have become my inspiration and have given me a reason to want to be successful.”
Yohanne Ndoumbe was born in Cameroon in central Africa, but immigrated to the United States when she was eight. Her mother and grandmother now live in Washington D.C., while her father has remained in Cameroon. Yohanne and her sister live in Southern California.
Thanks to the Earl Woods Scholar Program, Yohanne is presently a freshman at Woodbury University in Burbank, California, with a passion for business.
Like so many others impacted by the TGR Foundation, Yohanne has been able to fortify her spirit and place her focus on a bright future.
“Moving to a new country is challenging,” Yohanne said. “There are a lot of hardships you will face, but it is what you decided to do with those hardships that matters. The challenges I faced when moving to the United States helped me appreciate the little things, but most importantly, it gave me strength and will needed to tackle anything put my way. I could not be more grateful.”
Three individuals from three corners of the globe, each united under the TGR Foundation and the Earl Woods Scholar Program, are now rising above in the Los Angeles area.
Earlier this week from The Riviera Country Club, the TGR Foundation announced its involvement in bringing the Carol Kimmelman Athletic and Academic Campus to life in Carson, California. As such, a TGR Learning Lab will bring academics and athletics to thousands of kids across Los Angeles.
“The Foundation has grown so much in the past few years with our digital platforms and what we have been about to create,” said Tiger Woods. “So, our reach has gone from hundreds of thousands to just under a million served. We will be expanding into the millions probably within the next couple years. We are excited about that. We’re also excited about the Kimmelman project and what we’ll be able to do here in Southern California, where I grew up. We already have a Learning Lab in Orange County, so to be able to expand on that and to create more of an opportunity for kids to experience STEM is something that we are very proud of.”
“I had a chance to go down to the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “To be able to see that facility close to 15 years after it was conceived and to know of the number of young people that have gone through that facility, to know of the mentors around the country that are mentoring those young people, to know of the teachers that are coming in and being taught how to apply STEM research and technology…is remarkable.”
To date, the TGR Foundation has impacted more than 800,000 students and produced nearly 200 college scholars. In all, more than $150 million has been raised and distributed.
To celebrate the lives and futures of just some of those impacted by the TGR Foundation, at this week’s Genesis Open, Karina, Esmerelda and Yohanne were among those past and present Earl Woods Scholars in the Los Angeles community to serve as official starters at The Riviera Country Club.
For Yohanne, the celebration was made more special as United Airlines, a TGR Foundation partner, flew her mother, Martine, from their Washington D.C. home to Los Angeles to surprise Yohanne at the United Airlines Putting Green in the Family Village at The Riviera Country Club, where Johanne was serving as a volunteer.
In addition to the surprise, United hosted the family members inside the United Fairway Club.
With respect to the game of golf, there’s no denying the unparalleled impact Tiger Woods has made. His achievements are discussed and celebrated everywhere from around office water coolers to across worldwide television and radio programs. In short, the 80-time PGA TOUR winner has helped make the sports world a more cohesive and interesting place.
But, when the charitable efforts and achievements of an individual can help unite people from all walks of life and help them rise from the ashes of constriction, the story broadens in scope from being merely impressive to downright unforgettable.
“This man’s golfing career is well-documented and still has a long way to go,” said Commissioner Monahan. “But, one of the most exciting things, as he said, is to continue to influence young people positively and take the great work that has been done by the TGR Foundation and accelerate it as we go forward. I would invite you to find any other athlete on this planet that has done more for young people than Tiger Woods.”