FTSV’s Participants Selected for Game Changers Academy

Salma Rivera and Nancy Rivera from First Tee — Silicon Valley have been selected to attend the First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. in Philadelphia, July 19-23, 2022. They are 2 of 72 teens from the First Tee network who have been selected for the five-day learning and empowerment academy and will participate in critical conversations around issues of identity, racism, equity and empathy. RISE, a national leader in the sports community championing social justice and working to improve race relations, will facilitate engaging and interactive workshops paired with introspective activities and reflections led by our nationally trained First Tee coaches. The Academy builds throughout the week into a final outreach project in DE&I (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion).

Meet our Game Changers Participants:

Salma is a junior at University Preparatory Academy (UPA) in San Jose and has been part of FTSV for 5 years. She is an Ace participant. She was a participant in our 2022 Leadership Series and has assisted our outreach efforts recruiting participants, assisting games and translating. Outside of FTSV she volunteers for the City of San Jose, picking up litter and volunteering at her local foodbank.

Nancy is a graduating senior at UPA and has been in our program for 5 years. She is an Ace participant and has assisted with FTSV outreach events, speaking with families and spreading the word about our program.  Outside of our program she is the founder of her school’s Latinx club and volunteers for Cycle of Hope through Habitat for Humanity. At the 2021 First Tee Innovators Forum, Nancy developed the idea to provide educational support and workshops for her community. The workshops are offered in Spanish and include resources on how to effectively support their child as they pursue post-secondary education, such as the process of completing the FAFSA, SAT/ACT and scholarship opportunities, how to navigate online resources, and more.

Salma and Nancy are leaders in and outside of our program and are taking action in their communities to be positive difference makers,” says FTSV Program Director, Chris Moreno-Hunt. “Acceptance in the Game Changers Academy will provide valuable lessons and experiences which will equip them with the tools to give back and make positive change. We are proud of who they are and how they want to make this world a better place, and we are excited to see them pursue their goals in order to shape the future.”

The event will be held at Villanova University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Selected participants will be housed at the Good Counsel Hall dormitory at Villanova and golf programming will take place at Walnut Lane Golf Club and Merion Golf Club.

First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters designed to inspire and encourage high school students on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. The Academy honors First Tee’s former CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who led the organization from 2000 until his retirement in 2017.

Congratulations Salma and Nancy!