How Golf Made a Difference for Young Somalian Refugee

Categories: Blog, I am the First Tee, The First Tee Alumni

At The First Tee, golf is more than just a game; golf is a life-changer.

Muya Muya is no exception. Born into a civil war, Muya and his family fled from Somalia to Kenya where they spent the first seven years of his life in a refugee camp before moving to the United States. Arriving in San Diego, Muya entered second grade knowing nothing of American culture or English. But after an introduction to The First Tee of San Diego, he learned far beyond the basics of a golf swing.

“When Muya first started, he thought golf was too difficult,” said Andrew Holets, chief executive of The First Tee of San Diego. “He was much more interested in playing soccer!”

With encouragement from the program’s staff, Muya eventually became more involved in playing golf. He is very thankful that he did.

Receiving professional golf coaching, academic assistance and mentorship, the chapter put Muya on track to become an accomplished golfer playing on the varsity golf team in high school. The chapter also sponsored him as he played against elite young golfers in the San Diego Junior Golf Association. Muya will tell you, with a smile on his face, that he beat quite a few of them.

An intelligent and kind-hearted young man, Muya started pursuing opportunities for his life outside of The First Tee. From connections at the chapter, he acquired an internship at Qualcomm, a wireless technology company, and a scholarship. He is now pursuing a business marketing degree at San Diego City College. But Muya’s success doesn’t stop there. As a college student, he has created a partnership and started an internet business in which is expected to continue after graduation.

Now an alumnus of The First Tee, Muya is still sponsored and supported by the chapter. Often times you will see him out on the driving range or putting green, sporting his signature red sweater, volunteering and teaching younger participants as they reach for their own success.

If you ask Muya what motivated him in his experiences, he would say, “I understood what I wanted to do with my life. I came here to gain opportunity and I didn’t want to waste any of it.”

Get Involved at The First Tee

Are you looking for a program where your child can receive valuable lessons, set goals, and become their best selves? With more than 1,200 locations, The First Tee uses golf to teach youth ages 7 to 18 life lessons and leadership skills. No previous golf experience is needed and scholarships are available! Join The First Tee and see how, just like Muya, golf can make a difference.

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