The 14-acre, 18-hole, par-3 Colina Park Golf Course serves more than 1,500 children per year. The majority of our new members are recruited through our Partnership in Education with the San Diego Unified School District. In lieu of physical education at their schools, kids from our partner elementary and middle schools choose to be transported to our facility in City Heights to receive an average of six hours of golf and life-skills classes. On course golf instruction is coupled with a life-skills curriculum designed by our nationally affiliated organization, The First Tee. This curriculum seamlessly integrates the instruction of life-skills (interpersonal communication, self-discipline, conflict resolution, recognizing & accepting cultural differences, etc.) and core values (respect, confidence, honesty, integrity, etc.) into basic golf instruction. Pro Kids members who join outside of our school partnership may participate in identical instruction held after school, on weekends, and during school vacations.
All Pro Kids members have limited access to our Homework Club (after school tutoring) and educational workshops through the Learning Center. After kids pass basic golf and life-skills certification, they gain access to the rest of the Learning Center resources: an adult-monitored computer lab, community service projects, educational, vocational, and social field trips, leadership trainings, college preparation programs, and college scholarships.
Point Reward Opportunity (PRO)
A key facet of our programs is our in-house economic system, Point Reward Opportunity (PRO). While it is free for our target population to join Pro Kids, all members must pay to participate using this point system. To pay for golf greens fees, equipment, and apparel, kids must earn points by participating in Learning Center aspects of our programs. Through this environment, we help create individuals who honor education, respect the world around them, and give back to their community. Meanwhile, they are practicing budgeting (credit and debit) and decision making.
Who We Serve
In 2013, we served 1,826 children, ranging in age from seven to 20-years-old. Of these children:
- 84 percent identify as non-Caucasian
- 42 percent are girls; 58 percent are boys
- 72 percent of the members qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch program
Our target population is the youth of City Heights. Home to a very large refugee population, this neighborhood is ethnically diverse with an estimated 34 dialects spoken within a five-mile radius of our facility. Besides language and cultural barriers, this area is also plagued with negative socioeconomic, academic, and crime statistics. The California Endowment reports the median income of a family in City Heights is $25,814 compared to San Diego County’s median income of $59,591. One hundred percent of the kids at our partner elementary and middle schools participate in the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
Due to their low socioeconomic status, many of the children we serve do not have access to the same resources as their peers in San Diego County and the rest of the state. This in turn impacts the academic capital (and subsequent success) available to kids in our neighborhood. The Academic Performance Index (API), measured by the California Department of Education, is an indication of academic performance and growth of schools. While the statewide performance target for all schools is a score of 800, our two target high schools scored 619 and 625 in 2010. The educational deficiencies that exist in our high schools start in our elementary and middle schools. According to the 2010 California standardized tests (STAR), the percentage of kids from our partner elementary schools who performed advanced or proficient in math at the 5th grade is 46% compared to the state average of 60%. In literacy, the percentage of these kids performing advanced or proficient in English language arts at the 5th grade is 38% compared to the state average of 58%. Our kids’ performance on these tests remains dismal in middle school with 31% of the kids from our partner middle schools performing advanced or proficient in math at the 7th grade compared to the state average of 49%. With lagging academic performance, our local high schools then suffer from another negative statistic, earning the 2nd and 3rd worst graduation rates in the district in 2007. Just graduating is a big feat for many kids in this neighborhood.
With extreme poverty and idle youth, this community in turn sees a high level of crime and other negative social statistics. The San Diego Health and Human Services Agency has determined the Central Region of San Diego, where our facility is located, to have the county’s highest rate of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and youth ages 10-17 on probation (San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families, 2007). Our community also leads the county in births to teens ages 15-17 (Community Health Atlas- Mid-City San Diego, 2000). With so many negative influences threatening their ability to succeed in high school and beyond, Pro Kids strives to keep them on a positive track to becoming productive members of society.
The biggest challenges to our program are also the greatest opportunities: youth who have been neglected by the system or unintentionally ignored at school or home. By offering a holistic approach which provides kids with the confidence, tools, and incentive to achieve in life, Pro Kids has been effective at positively impacting thousands of youth in its sixteen years in City Heights. Annually, we retain approximately 53 percent of our members.
Pro Kids empowers youth to develop into successful adults who positively contribute to their community and world. We measure the success of many of our goals through attendance records, matriculation through golf and life skills certification, and the academic tracking of individual kids.
For kids who actively participate in Pro Kids programs, we expect them to:
- Improve their golf skills and on-course etiquette
- Improve their academic performance at school
- Increase their literacy levels and math aptitude
- Improve their behavior at home and school
For our members who remain with us long-term, we expect them to:
- Graduate college at a higher rate than the national average
- Become role models in their community through their commitment to education, community service, and healthy lifestyles