Humans of Pro Kids – Powerful Stories In Celebration of 25 Years

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“I live in the neighborhood. I knew about Pro Kids but had never been there. I was part of the STAR/PAL program and one day they said we were going on a field trip. I was thinking it would be to Legoland or something but they said that we were going to Pro Kids to play some golf. I was like ‘Are you serious?’I definitely didn’t want to go but as soon as I started swinging I was the first one to hit to back net on the driving range. I’ve been hooked ever since. If Pro Kids wasn’t here I’d jump the fence so I could still play golf. There’s no other place like it. My dad calls me ‘Tiger Melo’ and watches golf now that I play. I’m trying to get that scholarship so I work hard on my game. Last week Coach Mitch invited me to play on a big course and I was so excited and nervous that I couldn’t sleep the night before. In the morning my dad cooked me breakfast and gave me $20, my sister helped me pick out my clothes, and my brother gave me his jacket since it was cold in the morning. I got to Pro Kids early and Mr. Andrew (Pro Kids CEO) let me borrow his Callaway visor too. I looked so fresh and was ready to go. I played okay but I need to work on my driver. I want to be the best.” – Romelo, Pro Kids Member, Level 4

“My first day at Pro Kids I was wearing a SpongeBob backpack. I was in only in 3rd grade. Now I can’t believe I’ve been here for five years and I’m in middle school. Everyone here is my friend. The kids are my friends, the staff are my friends, the volunteers are my friends, my clubs are my friends, the course is my friend. But Coach Mitch is like the best person in my life. He is humble and super awesome. My first couple of years he helped me during his breaks and on his days off. Now I feel like a boss on the course. I played pretty good for my first tournament at Twin Oakes, I hit the range, practiced on the putting green, had this memorable shot on hole 16…my putting was trash, but I hit a super hard drive that went like 250 yards carried 210 and it rolled a lot. I got a par and it was one of the hardest holes on the course. You know we went to go eat Wings-N-Things and I celebrated with Romelo and Jacob afterwards. I’m happy, proud, and confident because of Pro Kids. My older brother is in college now and he misses Pro Kids. I know I’ll miss it too. I’ll definitely cry when I graduate high school because I won’t be here every day. But for now, I’m just thankful for Coach Mitch and everyone at Pro Kids.” Joshua, Pro Kids Member, Level 4

“When my siblings and I first joined Pro Kids, we refused to get out of the car. We thought golf was for men who wore funny socks, and we’d never actually seen anyone play before. When we stepped onto the grounds, there was a golf course and a tiny broken-down shack—but there were kids! My favorite memories of that time are simple ones, just hanging out with kids my age playing golf. I loved challenging my friends in chipping contests and betting sodas. Pro Kids completely changed my mind about golf, and it became my community. Not coming from much, I never thought I would play on the UCLA Women’s Golf team, graduate with a major and minor I enjoyed, and find some of the best friends I’d have forever. My experience propelled me in the direction of professional golf, but it hasn’t been a smooth road. I’ve had a lot of heartbreaks, but when you lose you learn, and I’ve had many opportunities to learn. I have so much appreciation for the game of golf. It has taught me about life and who I really am as a person. It has taken me around the world and given me opportunities I never knew existed. I can only hope my legacy has a fraction of the impact of the great people before me, like Ernie Wright, who have helped create opportunities for all of us Pro Kids.” – Maiya Tanaka, Pro Kids Alumni

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