Unfortunately, the city I live in is known for its gang violence. I wanted a better future, free from violence. This is why I joined First Tee. As a participant, I learn from persevering through problems to make the right choices based on my judgments. I am ready to write the future.Pedro Ortiz at 15 years old, First Tee – Monterey County Alumnus
Pedro Ortiz was first exposed to First Tee – Monterey County when he was a first grader in 2006. Pedro started as green as possible with the game of golf, coming from a city constantly rehashed in Steinbeck’s writings of farms and field labor. The thing that drew him to First Tee initially was an innocent curiosity and a constant search for success. He went from coming to class on the school bus only twice a week to visiting us almost every day after school. Once he achieved First Tee Birdie level, the third achievable level in our program, Pedro embodied what it was like to become a junior coach. He began mentoring the participants around him as their role model. Because of his admirable effort, Pedro obtained his very first job at First Tee – Monterey County as an Assistant Coach.
Pedro has the confidence to stand up in front of a crowd and pour his soul out regarding his life and how much First Tee has impacted his goals and ambitions. In 2013, he was chosen to inspire donors at First Tee – Monterey County’s Boots, Bottles & BBQ, an annual fundraising event that has brought in almost $5 million dollars for our non-profit. Pedro also attended the inaugural First Tee Northern California Leadership Academy in Pebble Beach, where he won The Sandy Tatum Leadership Award. Moreover, he was offered a job at Poppy Hills Golf Course, a prestigious golf course in Pebble Beach, California, based on his participation and motivating acts during the weekend.
In 2014, Pedro had the honor of attending the First Tee National Trustee Meeting in Pebble Beach, where he had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the Honorary Chair of The First Tee, Former President George W. Bush. He had the privilege to speak in front of George W. Bush, hundreds of golf executives, and billionaire trustees. After the event, the Vice-President of the Tiger Woods Foundation, Jin Thatcher, and Commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jody Brothers, offered Pedro their most sincere help in achieving his goals and instantly inspired Pedro to pursue a career in the business side of the golf industry. This eventually led to Pedro working for the Pebble Beach Company for three years while he was attending college.
In 2015, Pedro graduated from Salinas High School with a 3.5 GPA. He received a $20,000 scholarship to attend California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) through The Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program. In 2018, Pedro graduated summa cum laude from CSUMB in three and a half years with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He is now the Communications Manager for the San Jose Earthquakes, a professional and major league soccer team. He has been with them for over three years.
Since 2006, Pedro has been eager to be the difference he knew he, his family, and his community needed, and he has done just that. Pedro is the epitome of what it means to be a Game Changer who embodies the First Tee Core Values and Life Skills.