Folsom's Youth Fore Golf is Putting Kids on the Right Track
Oct 05, 2015 09:20AM ● Published by Morgan Cásarez
L to R: Ava Sorber, Guy Sorber, Irma Sorber and Nathan Sorber - Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
When Guy Sorber Jr. reflects on his childhood, he still remembers the pain of growing up without—without money, without a father, and without all the things other kids seemed to have. Weekly trips to the local food bank helped keep meals on the table, but Sorber admits he often felt embarrassed by his family’s situation.
For years, he struggled with anger and a negative self-image, but sponsorships allowed him to participate in youth sports. The experience, he says, was “one of the most positive areas of my life in a difficult time.”
For nearly a decade, Sorber (now a married father of two), searched for ways to help Folsom’s at-risk and low-income youth the way others once helped him. In May, he founded Youth Fore Golf (YFG), a nonprofit dedicated to offering free golf lessons to elementary and middle school students throughout Folsom.
“There are opportunities available today that can radically change a family tree, if just one kid catches inspiration and has others who believe in him,” Sorber explains. “If we’re able to change the perspective of how these kids view themselves and open up their minds to the real possibilities for them, we can make a lasting impact.”
Sorber’s wife, Irma, serves as YFG’s executive director and says the fledgling organization relies on community support to “train up” local students with a solid foundation of life skills and core values, including honor, respect, truth and humility. In addition to monetary donations, the Sorbers encourage those with golf and non-profit experience to donate their time to the growing YFG.
“I talk to many individuals who often feel like our world, our community, is progressively becoming more self-indulged, covetous and self-seeking,” Irma shares. “We need more organizations that remind us to take the focus off of ourselves and our own ambitions. We need organizations to…serve the younger generations and the hearts of the future.”
Folsom resident Jeff Cook enrolled his sons in YFG’s inaugural summer camp after cuts to the family budget eliminated time on the green. He says he is forever grateful to Sorber and YFG for their support. “Guy went out of his way to take in my boys, and the end result has been amazing,” Cook says. “I’m a strong believer in the values and life lessons sports (in particular golf) can teach a child. The boys’ love for the game has been rekindled, thanks to Guy’s efforts and energy.”
In addition to his work with area schools, Sorber has also donated his talents to Mercy Village Folsom and Folsom Gardens, local branches of Mercy Housing, Inc., one of the country’s largest developers of affordable housing for low-income populations.
“Being able to coach youth in a sport that I have come to love is extremely rewarding,” Sorber says. “The most rewarding part is seeing a kid’s view of himself start to change—when their language starts to transition from, ‘I’m terrible at this’ to ‘This is something I need more work on,’ or ‘I’m still learning.’ I’ve never spent so many hours on something and enjoyed it so much as I have starting this organization.”