Donor Highlight: Cathy Plotkin
We recently caught up with this busy community volunteer, and former board member, to find out what drives her to support The First Tee of Richmond & Chesterfield.
How did you get involved with TFTRC?
I had heard about The First Tee and then Fred Tattersall, the founder of the organization, approached me about it. And, I grew up with Bobby Ukrop and Kathie Markel who were both on the board when I served.
What was your first impression of TFTRC?
The first time I was at the Chesterfield facility, I was amazed at all they have to offer. I have played the course a number of times. Itís a terrific, impressive course.
What are your strongest beliefs about TFTRC?
Golf is probably the best sport for learning life skills. There is such sportsmanship involved. The life skills programs are what make The First Tee most worthy of peoplesí support; they are what make it different. When you get to my age, youíre not running up and down the soccer field anymore. Golf is something you can do and practice for life.
What surprised you most about becoming involved with TFTRC?
How little people really know about The First Tee and how impressed they are when they really learn about the breadth of what is involved. Itís not just golf. I think the real mission of The First Tee is to change kidsí lives, their life skills, not just their athletic skills.
What do you wish other people knew about TFTRC?
That its image is not as connected to high risk populations as some would think. Itís a large component of what you do, itís not all. The First Tee is for all socio-economic groups in our area.
Tell us about some of the people you've met while volunteering at TFTRC.
The First Teeís board, by and large, is composed of people I have known or known about in the community.
Hearing from the kids has given me a real appreciation of how The First Tee can bring all aspects of the community together. I have loved interacting with the kids; thatís been a real credit to my experience. Itís been good to see the girls play on the ďboysĒ teams and do very well. I have had a wonderful time playing with some of the young people like Abby Portyrata. They are really good people and I think the program has helped in their development.
What might our First Tee families and supporters be surprised to know about you?
That I didnít start playing golf until about 20 years ago. I was a lifelong tennis player. Tennis is a great sport until you have to have your knees replaced.
My parents were golfers and my husband was a golfer but he stopped after we had children. It wasnít until my sons starting playing in college that they encouraged their parents to start playing, which we did to spend time with them. My son Adam ended up getting his PGA certification while working through graduate school.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating or volunteering?
Whenever people make a contribution, they feel good about it. You know that youíre helping a good organization get better. Itís a great feeling. People will get a lot of gratification from working with The First Tee kids in the life skills area. Itís a great way to give back through golf.
What do you think will change about TFTRC over the next five years?
I have recently heard that The First Tee is going to expand into many more schools around our area. These are ways that the golf community doesnít usually reach kids to introduce the sport and I think people should know this is going on. Also, there are so many golf facilities in our area. I hope that there will be more partnerships built so that The First Tee kids can get to more of them.
What do you do when you aren't volunteering?I play golf, I play bridge, I serve on the board of Massey Cancer Center and the Hospital Hospitality House and I am on the board of my club, Jefferson Lakeside Country Club. I take advantage of cultural opportunities around town. And, I take doggie classes with my little dog.
To learn how you can support The First Tee through financial or volunteer support, please click here or use the yellow ďDonateĒ button at the top right of this page.