Tristate youths are learning that golf can teach a lot about life.

The First Tee of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky is dedicated to teaching youths life skills and values through golf and education. Executive Director Tom Briner, who used to work for various local non-profits, realized there was more potential to change people's lives by working with youth. A golfer himself, he looked into national First Tee program as a way to build character. Former Procter & Gamble executive Lamar Johnson was trying to start a chapter, and the two men teamed up.

Along with golf skills, volunteers such as golf pro Bill Donaldson instill in the kids the value of respect, judgment and responsibility. Briner and volunteers also watch movies with the kids, help them with homework and take them on outings. It doesn't cost families anything for the lessons, transportation and lunches. "We elected right from the beginning not to have a fee," says Briner.

The First Tee held sessions earlier this year, as well as after-school programs for students at the International College Preparatory Academy. "The 120 kids we had this summer"”we really had great kids," adds Briner. "Great attitudes." He says the group has reached 250 children so far, a number he'd like to double next year.

First Tee has a multi-tiered program to keep kids coming back. "To graduate, you not only have to pass tests regarding life skills, but there's also golf skills that have to be passed also," Briner explains. And when Par players graduate to the Birdie group? "We give them a set of golf clubs."