From Arkansas State University
Arkansas State's Jennifer Welch, a Little Rock native and highly-decorated three-year letterwinner on the Red Wolves' women's golf team, was bestowed the honor to participate in The First Tee of Central Arkansas' ten-year anniversary celebration last Friday at the Alotian Golf Club in Little Rock, Ark.
Welch was alongside former President George W. Bush, serving as Honorary Chairman of the The First Tee nationally, to take part in the dedication of a garden area honoring Harriet and Warren Stephens for their support of the The First Tee of Central Arkansas. Welch, a charter member of The First Tee of Central Arkansas and it's Player of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005, represented the young people who have been a part of the program while introducing Warren Stephens at the event.
The Stephens' have been a driving force behind The First Tee of Central Arkansas, hosting tournaments at the Alotian Golf Club featuring gold legends such as Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus and others. The proceeds from the tournaments were dedicated to several local initiatives including The First Tee of Central Arkansas.
"This was a huge honor for me, and 10 years ago when I joined the The First Tee of Central Arkansas I never would have thought I would have an opportunity like this," said Welch. "I am honored that they chose me to be a part of such a huge event, and really the whole day was a great experience. The first time I ever touched a club was at The First Tee and I wouldn't be playing golf if it wasn't for that, so I am extremely grateful to them."
Over the past ten years, The First Tee of Central Arkansas has served over 10,000 young people from all walks of life. The organization has focused its efforts on children who would not otherwise have been exposed to the game of golf and its positive values. In particular they target youth from lower socioeconomic neighborhoods, minorities, children with disabilities and those who have parents who are deployed military.
"I am very excited that Jenny took part in such a big event," said ASU head women's golf coach M.J. Desbiens. "The First Tee is a great organization for young players who dream of playing the sport of golf but also want to learn valuable life lessons. Jenny has learned at a young age great life values through the First Tee, and she will be a great ambassador for them for a long time."
"This was a tremendous honor for Jennifer, and we are delighted that she was able to represent both The First Tee of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State University in such a notable fashion," said ASU Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee. "Jennifer is an outstanding ambassador for our athletic department and this can now be added to her long list of accomplishments. Warren and Harriet Stephens are well-known for their contributions to many great causes, so we are certainly excited that someone of Jennifer's character was able to participate in this dedication in their honor."