Why is it Called Midnight Golf Program?
We get that question quite often.
The program was founded in 2001 by Reneé Fluker, a social worker and single mother who noticed the impact golf had on her son’s life—a student golfer who encouraged her to find a way to provide other young people with the opportunity to experience the game he loved and the doors he believed it had opened for him. It started as an offshoot of the safe streets initiative called Midnight Basketball. Over time, it has come to have another meaning.
Fluker says, “Playing golf at night is impossible unless someone shines a light. The program uses the game of golf to give young people a brighter vision of their future.”
Reneé Fluker, President, joins students Jordan W., Mecca V., and Phillip M. on the golf course.
From its humble beginnings with 17 students meeting at Franklin-Wright Settlements—a small community center in Detroit, to learning golf skills to today with 250 students—the program is a phenomenal success. It has expanded to a 30-week curriculum that has helped hundreds of Detroit’s at-risk high school students enter college and various professional careers.
Today, twice weekly, two groups of 125 students meet from 5:30-8:30 p.m. for life lessons, golf lessons and a sit-down dinner.
Defying the conventional wisdom that programs targeting high school students are “too little too late,” MGP is committed to preparing all students for college attendance and graduation.
So far, they have made their commitment a reality as 100 percent of the students completing the program have gone on to attend college.
One of the major components is The Road Trip for Success College Tour which became a part of MGP’s curriculum in 2005. This week-long trip during the traditional spring break week offered to high school students, provides an out-of-state look at institutions of higher education that include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and top-tier research universities. MGP also offers exclusive scholarship opportunities to participants sponsored by mentors and donors to help ease the financial burden of college for students.
Dave Gamlin, Vice President, on the golf course with students David P., Jose H., Mikel A., Josiah W. and Antoino C. teaching his favorite game.
MGP has been acclaimed for its impact on the lives of at-risk youth in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Golf Magazine and CNN. It is heralded in the community as a pillar of hope for students who do not typically have access to the professional and life skill development resources this program offers. With all of the praise MGP receives, the most poignant example of its transformative power on the lives of youth and its alumni that graduate from college and go on to the careers of their dreams.