BELLE GLADE — Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes brought his love of the game, not football, but rather golf, to his hometown of Belle Glade. The football phenomenon joined efforts with South Florida PGA Foundation, Pratt & Whitney, Glades Central High School and, local agriculture company, U.S. Sugar to hold the first STEAM Golf camp. The week-long event is part of Holmes’ non-profit 10 ALL IN Foundation.
Glades-area children were given the opportunity to sharpen their minds through the STEAM program which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Engineers at Pratt & Whitney challenged the kids to create a new hat to help golfers battle the sun, bugs and other elements they encounter on the golf course.
Kids aged 8-17 were separated into four groups – Team Blaze, Team Track Hawks, Team Crew Mates and Team CKC Express. They had to work together to produce a prototype of their product. The students introduced each of the hat prototypes during a presentation at the Belle Glade Municipal Golf Course. Each team was recognized for outstanding skills including marketing and innovation.
“Realizing how important socio-emotional learning skills play a big factor in our character and who we are and how we interact with our co-workers, I understand just how important it was to educate the young kids on what it’s like to be a professional,” said Holmes.
Also, many of these students held a golf club for the first time this week. They were given hands on instruction and encouragement from PGA professionals. Holmes grew to love the game of golf after his years of playing football in the NFL. This camp is his way of exposing kids to a game they would likely never get to play otherwise.
Holmes’ high school buddy, Jimmy Vincent, is also his business partner and executive director of 10 ALL IN. Vincent’s mental health background and expertise in socio-emotional learning combined with Holmes’ love of golf was the impetus for the STEAM Golf camp. Vincent, says this is the first of many more events to come.
“We thought we could combine the STEAM aspects with our new love of golf because we knew that was something that could be beneficial to our community,” added Vincent. “We reached out to the right people and here we are.”
Today, these lifelong friends accepted a check from South Florida PGA Foundation for more than nine thousand dollars. The funds will be used to sponsor more events in the future.
Holmes attended Glades Central High School and went on to be a standout wide receiver for The Ohio University before playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was the Super Bowl XLIII MVP in 2009.
Melanie Bolden-Morris, the principal high vocational at Glades Central High School, was an integral part of hosting the event and happens to be the former high school guidance counselor to both Holmes and Vincent. She attended the presentation and told the crowd, “I’m so proud of you guys and the men that you’ve become. Thank you for coming back to the community and giving because it is so needed.”