Lindsay student gets the lucky number
LINDSAY - A sixth-grader in Lindsay School District will soon be on her way to Orlando, Fla., to be recognized as the one millionth student to enroll in golfer Tiger Woods' Start Something program.
To her surprise, Janet Saldana, 11, was identified last month by a committee from the foundation as the one. She will meet with Woods on June 25 in Orlando, and make a video with him as part of a promotional package for Start Something, Target Corporation and the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Saldana said she doesn't feel any different, but is glad she won, especially since a $5,000 scholarship can be part of the prize. Although young, she has her mind on the future.
"I think it's good to get the award, but I feel the same inside," Saldana said. "I think it's good to get the scholarship because many people don't have the money to go (to college). This helps when you really need it."
Start Something offers 10, two-hour sessions that students can attend individually or in a group, according to Norma Erwin, director Lindsay's after school program STARS.
The first five sessions encourage kids to think about their dreams and goals and help them come up with an action project. During sessions six and seven they complete the project. During sessions eight through 10 kids have an opportunity to think about their efforts and what it means to them and their futures.
When they finish the program, students can apply for scholarships ranging from $100 to $5,000, which are used to fund a special interest or hobby. Saldana will apply for the top scholarship, as she has her sights set on going to college and becoming an architect when she grows up. Start Something has helped her focus on her goals and see how she can reach them.
Right now, though, if she had the money in hand she would take care of some more immediate needs as she sees them.
"I want to start a committee and do a canned food drive to help people who need food in Lindsay," she said. "A lot of people need food and don't have the money. And I would really like to buy my dad a house."
Erwin is responsible for bringing Start Something to Lindsay. In an effort to provide more avenues of learning that promote self-esteem, last year Erwin attended a national school convention in Utah and stumbled across the Tiger Woods program. She decided it could be used in conjunction with what the district was already doing with STARS.
STARS is a state funded after school program that provides expanded learning opportunities for students. Because it's project based, Erwin said she is always looking for new projects to broaden and strengthen the children. Start Something helps guide the children into a proactive program of character development.
Erwin said, "I couldn't be prouder of Janet. She really is a special little girl. She took right to the program and began to set her goals. She works hard and is one of the kindest children you will ever meet. And she's modest. Most of her friends don't know she won or that she is going to Florida because she hasn't bragged about it. That's just the way she is."
Erwin will accompany Saldana and her parents, Juan and Luia Saldana, to Orlando.
"I am very happy about this award, our whole family is happy," Luia Saldana said about her daughter.