Fighting a global pandemic is scary.
The positive: neighborhoods, cities, countries and people from different backgrounds and parts of the world are banding together in the fight against COVID-19.
Some of those leaders are junior golfers.
Yu Wen Lu, Eddie Zhang, and brothers Aksel and Jonas Moe are just a few of the 50 junior golfers that decided to act through the AJGA’s Leadership Links program.
They have raised awareness and $27,000 for Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization in more than 80 countries. The organization is currently focused on providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to health care workers, making ICU medication and equipment more accessible and providing staffing and support to overwhelmed facilities.
“I started this donation because I wanted to help out in a crisis like this,” Lu said. “There is a supply shock as factories are shut down as mandated by the government. The best way I knew how to help was to directly donate money to get more supplies.”
Lu started with the goal to raise $1,000, but with the help of her friends and high school sharing her story through social media, she collected more than $3,000 to help Direct Relief.
Zhang said he felt compelled to help when he saw how people were suffering.
“The Leadership Links platform made it easy to start the fundraising process and I hope this money can help make some change, even if it is small, to the crisis in China as well as my fellow junior golfers who lack the financial resources to compete at a national level,” Zhang said.
In the span of 13 days, Aksel and Jonas Moe raised $6,153 for COVID-19 relief.
The 13- and 14-year-old brothers, from Richville, Minnesota, were inspired by their AJGA friends' fundraising efforts.
When the pandemic hit the United States, the Moe brothers decided they also wanted to raise as much money as they could to help healthcare workers get the protection they needed.
The Moe family reached out through their network: sent emails, texts, and reached out through social media to get their campaign underway to raise money and awareness.
The Moes' original goal of $5,000 was surpassed in a week thanks to generous donations from family and friends who agreed to match funds. In an effort to get creative, Jonas accepted the challenge of shaving his head for a $25 donation.
“We kept raising our goals as funds came in,” Aksel Moe said. “We decided to run the campaign for 13 days so the money could be distributed as soon as possible since the situation continues to be so urgent.”
“Our fundraising campaign gave us a sense of purpose,” Jonas Moe said. “We don’t know what is going to happen this summer, but we are trying to get the most out of every day and make a difference in this difficult time.”
The Leadership Links mission is to help juniors make a community impact. AJGA resources and tools make giving back to the community easy and fun.
Since 2009, more than 3,177 total junior golfers have:
- logged nearly 30,000 volunteer hours
- raised nearly $3 million dollars
- supported more than 2,500 charities
To start, juniors select a charity and email Beth Dockter (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get started. A personalized website and marketing materials will be created to support fundraising goals.
Participants can choose how they want to be involved:
- volunteer time
- host a State Cup Series match play event with their friends (like the Mason Cup, Carolina Cup and nearly 10 others)
- invite community donors for golf or social functions
- or create something totally new
Proceeds are split between the junior’s charity and the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program. The ACE Grant is a financial assistance program which ensures junior golfers play in top tournaments by covering entry fees and travel expenses for qualified national junior golf, high school state and USGA events.
In a time where so much is distancing and divisive, juniors like Lu and Zhang remind us to come together to support one another during difficult times.