With medical supplies decreasing and the strain on hospitals increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yu Wen Lu, a 17-year-old junior golfer from Shanghai, couldn't watch and do anything.
Through the American Junior Golf Association's Leadership Links program, Lu has raised more than $3,000 for Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization in over 80 countries that provides personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, makes ICU medication and equipment more accessible, and provides staffing and support to overwhelmed facilities.
“I started this donation because I wanted to help out in a crisis like this,” said Lu, whose initial goal was $1,000. “There is a supply shock as factories are shut down as mandated by the government. The best way I knew how to help was to directly donate money to get more supplies.”
Nearly 50 AJGA members are raising money to help with COVID-19 relief, and they are doing it with the AJGA's help.
Leadership Links is a program that provides resources and tools to AJGA members looking to give back. Golfers pick a charity and decide how they want to fundraise, whether it's through a golf function, State Cup Series match-play event or something new. The AJGA provides a personalized website and marketing materials, and the fundraising money is split between the golfer's charity and the AJGA's ACE Grant program.
Since 2009, nearly 3,200 Leadership Links participants have logged almost 30,000 volunteer hours, raised close to $3 million dollars and supported more than 2,500 charities.
Eddie Zhang, also from Shanghai, is another junior supporting COVID-19 relief.
“I hope this money can help make some change, even if it is small, to the crisis in China," Zhang said, "as well as my fellow junior golfers who lack the financial resources to compete at a national level.”