Countryside Rotarians Support Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy With Donation and Scholarship
Photo/Text By Renee Burrell
CAPTION: Several 5th graders took a break from their studies to accept the $7,000 donation from (back row, l to r): Owen Stewart, past Rotary President; Mrs. Jill Crist, Dixie Walker, Rotary Member -Scholarship Chair and Foundation Board Member Frank Chivas
CLEARWATER - The Countryside Rotarians donated $7,000 to the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation February 4. A portion of the donation will fund a higher education scholarship. Mrs. Jill Crist presented the scholarship on behalf of her late husband, humanitarian and Rotarian, John Crist.
"As a world organization dedicated to improving issues on poverty, hunger, education, and environment, we felt it was a perfect fit to make this donation to our future, the children, and the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation," says past Rotary president, Owen Stewart.
The principal idea behind the foundation is to assist at risk children by improving their self esteem, character, work ethic, social adjustment, and consequently their academic performance.
A plaque commemorating Countryside Rotary's generous support of the Foundation's goals will be hung on the starter hut located on the first tee of the Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course.
Golfers who play on the Academy's public course located at 3030 McMullen Booth Road are supporting the Foundation while they enjoy the sport. Frankie Ingo, Public Relations and Events Manager said, "The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy has the only public golf course in the world whose proceeds help needy children. On the golf course is a full Pinellas County Partnership School that serves 90 at risk children teaching the 3 R's and life skills as well. Add in The First Tee of Clearwater, the Big Brothers and Sisters and a Community Service Program and you have a totally unique learning environment for children."
The Youth Foundation & Academy was founded in 1979 by golf great Juan 'Chi Chi' Rodriguez. Rodriguez went from rags to riches as an impoverished youth in Puerto Rico to a career as a professional golfer at age 24. Rodriguez earned 38 professional wins, including eight Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) tour wins and 22 Senior PGA tour wins.
Rodriguez was once quoted as saying, "For me, satisfaction comes from knowing that I was put on this planet to make it better." Rodriguez was directly inspired to help needy children after a personal visit with the late Mother Teresa in the Philippines in the 1970s. The Chi-Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation and the Chi-Chi Rodriguez Academy have collectively raised four million dollars to assist disadvantaged youth and has been honored by the National Golf Foundation, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the Points of Light Foundation for its youth and community service efforts.
To learn more about the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy, contact them at 727-726-8829 or at www.chichi.org
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