Monday night I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker for a fabulous organization here in Tampa. Character GPS is a non-profit that provides character education experiences to children. The educators in this program work through a curriculum that aims to equip the kids with the tools they need to realize their innate value, have a vision for their future and give them a plan to achieve it.
I always try to jump at any opportunity to give back to my community and speaking to this group of girls for The Centre for Girls downtown was very special. I was amazed at how engaged and empowered they were! I spoke to them at their graduation from this multiple week skills course and it was clear they had been working hard. The room was full of girls with big dreams and realistic plans on how to get there.
I was able to give a 10-15 minute talk to these girls, who as I found out, were already plenty inspired! I hope to link in a video of my full speech, but I wanted to include a small excerpt:
“I consider myself lucky, I got to fall in love with golf again and I now appreciate that it can be taken away. Your body can be damaged, your dreams can be taken away. But no one will ever be able to take your education from you.
I’m going to surprise you all a bit. Yes, I am a professional athlete. Yes, I was a standout athlete in high school and was featured in newspaper articles. Yes, I was even nominated for homecoming queen my senior year of high school. But I was also the only girl on math league in middle school. I also took more than a dozen AP classes. I was the girl sitting in the front of the class, raising my hand when I knew the answer and I graduated as Valedictorian.
My ability to compete as an athlete might one day get taken from me, but my finance degree and my academic accomplishments will be there to help me find a new dream and a new career.
Don’t be afraid to be smart and to admit that you like getting good grades. Don’t be afraid to be one of the only girls in an advanced math class. You can be cool and have fun and still set yourself up to chase all of the big dreams that you can come up with. And on that note, happy dream catching to all of you!”
I know from the girls that came up to chat and take pictures afterwards, that I was able to keep their attention. I hope that my words were encouragement to them as they continue to grow and head to high school. I also look forward to being able to continue to do what is asked of me by my amazing home town as I chase my dream to be on the LPGA and look for sponsorship.