TWO TEENS TAKE A SWING AT A BRIGHTER FUTURE

DISCOVERING THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP

stories first tee davisDavis Miller is a survivor and a walking miracle. He loves sports, loves people, and has a heart for those who have been dealt some serious blows in their life. But the road to where he is today was filled with challenges.

Now 15 years old and an avid golfer, Davis was born with a partial diaphragm and heart conditions that complicated his lung development. There were countless hospitalizations and surgeries through his early years, but his spirits never diminished. Heart and chest surgery, spinal fusion surgery—Davis takes them as temporary setbacks that interfere with his golf game.

“We’ve received tremendous encouragement and support from The First Tee of WNY,” says Davis’ mom, Gina. “Their partnership has given us a reliable team to patiently guide and nurture Davis’ physical and character growth.”

Davis appreciates the core values and healthy habits promoted by The First Tee, especially friendship. “I love my friends and family dearly,” he says. “And they love me too. It’s been a great honor to participate in The First Tee program and to learn about friendship.”

LEARNING THE VALUE OF CONFIDENCE

“ The First Tee partnership has given us a reliable team to patiently guide and nurture physical and character growth.”

stories first tee giaIt’s difficult to describe what it’s like to live with extreme anxiety. That’s how 15-year-old Gia Bolognese sums up her life before The First Tee. At the age of eight, Gia was under a doctor’s care for anxiety issues. “I would get nervous whenever there were changes in my life, or challenges arose,” says Gia calmly. But when she was out on the golf course or in a First Tee class, those feelings disappeared. “I noticed I was less anxious during my time with The First Tee, so I asked to volunteer,” she says.  “I always feel good when I’m helping the younger participants.”

Gia credits First Tee coach Patty Jordan-Smith for making a huge impact on her life. “Coach PJ helped me to believe in myself, increase my self-confidence, and become a better me.” According to the now outgoing Gia, The First Tee is more than learning—and loving—the game of golf. “It’s making the concrete foundation for who you are. I’m committed to sharing my passion about The First Tee with other girls in golf, and all the youth in the program.”