Pave the Path Organization

Pave The Path Logo Junior Golf

Justin Kinney, founder and executive director of the non-profit Pave the Path, is a man with a mission. A mission rooted in the wisdom of ancient African teachings of common humanity and connectivity. Yet forward-looking and sophisticated in its approach and vision.

We invited Justin to tell us more about this organization and the many opportunities one has to jump on board and provide some community service and make an impact for underserved athletes across the world.

Pave The Path Logo Junior Golf

Justin Kinney’s Personal Inspiration

“A person is a person through other persons.”

Or another way of looking at that is, “I am because you are.”

Or one more angle is, “We are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.”

It is part of a philosophy of life called Ubuntu, which to sum up in one word is Compassion.  Former South African leader Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu lived and breathed Ubuntu on a daily basis. Rather than fight when confronted by adversaries, Mandela and Tutu prevented many riots just based on their peaceful approach to resolving issues and disagreements. Their hope was that if they treated their “enemies” with compassion, the “enemies” would then, in return, treat others with compassion and the violence and hatred would dissolve.

My name is Justin Kinney and I am the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit, Pave the Path (pavethepath.org). I cannot recall exactly when and where I learned about Ubuntu but it’s something that has stuck with me everyday since and been a driving force in my life, so much so I have one of the above sayings tattooed across my back.

Pave The Path’s Mission

With this frame of mind, I have recently set out to help under-resourced athletes earn college scholarships (athletic and/or academic) and degrees through virtual coaching, mentoring, academic tutoring, guidance in the college recruiting & application process and building their brand by finding sponsorship opportunities for them.

To help with recruiting and marketability, we will be designing a personal website for each person we work with and assist with social media strategies. Through this holistic approach, which includes coaching in technique, mental game, strategy and fitness & nutrition, we will be able to support everyone we work with in basically any area of their life.

The idea was born when thinking about how amazing the First Tee program is and what I could do to help those under-resourced junior golfers get to the #nextlevel so they have a greater chance of earning college athletic scholarships.

The mission was originally to support under-resourced junior golfers in the U.S. Then it grew to include any under-resourced junior golfer in the world. Then it included under-resourced golfers of all ages who have eligibility at the NCAA or NAIA level. Then it included under-resourced athletes from all sports.

Next, we will expand to work with athletes with disabilities and under-resourced students who are actors/actresses, singers, musicians, artists, etc. The only limits are those we put on ourselves and I am declaring there are #nolimits to what Pave the Path can accomplish!

Pave the Path’s Current Athletes

The wheels have recently been set into motion with four athletes to help them achieve their dreams in school, sports and life. They all happen to be from Nigeria and I consider them all as family. My fam is currently made up of:

Osiregbeme (Osime) Egbakhumeh
osime

Osiregbeme (Osime) Egbakhumeh, is an 11th grader at a high school in Nigeria. He is the #2 ranked male junior golfer in Nigeria and has high hopes of playing for a top Division I golf program.

Adamu Mohammed,
adamu

Adamu Mohammed, is a little bit older, but never got the opportunity to attend college. He has a dream to play NAIA golf in the U.S. and then use his experiences and connections to reorganize junior golf in Nigeria.

Esom Nnajiofor
esom

Esom Nnajiofor, is an 11th grader at Liberty Christian Academy, in Lynchburg, VA. His dream is to play for a Division I or II basketball program but will be joining the football and track & field teams, which could open up other athletic opportunities for him.

Pave The Path’s People

I cannot do all of the work myself so I will be relying on the support from people who share the same vision. We are 100% volunteer-based, including myself, so all money raised directly benefits the people we work with.

I have been humbled by the people who have agreed to give up their free time to help better someone else’s life. My fam also includes:

  • Jacob Barid, who will be interning and doing anything he can to help grow our brand and mission, specifically raising funds and donations.
  • Tommy Stephenson, a standout collegiate golfer, who will be coaching Osime in his golf swing, mental game, course management and college recruiting process.
  • Mental game coach Kumiko Ito Rodewald, who will be assisting junior golfers with their mental approaches to golf.
  • Inner game coach Cary Valentine, who will be guiding Esom on his mental approach to basketball, football, and track & field.
  • Sports psychologist Bill Cole, who is the Chairman of the Board and serves as a strategic advisor. He is the Founder of the International Mental Game Coaches Association and brings valuable experience and knowledge to the organization.
  • Jerrell Dorsey, a former middle school student of mine, who broke the cycle of poverty with the help of a nonprofit with a similar mission. He is on the Board of Directors. Jerrell recently graduated from Babson College and will provide valuable assistance with growing the mission at the root level.
  • Georgia Oboh, who is a professional golfer on the Ladies European Tour. She will be mentoring our junior golfers about balancing life and golf, and will share experiences she had on her path to becoming a pro golfer. 

Words cannot express my gratitude for their dedication to the mission.

Next Steps

Something unique we will be starting soon is a podcast entitled, Identi-teen, which will be a show for teens, by teens. It will be hosted by our intern, Jacob Barid, and feature teenage guests who will help raise awareness around issues that adolescents face and help empower their peers to take action for themselves.

Our next steps as an organization are to grow the number of volunteer coaches we have in any or all of the following areas for their sport(s): technique, mental game, strategy, fitness and nutrition.

Help Needed

We are also looking to grow our list of college or professional athletes who want to volunteer one hour per month to be a mentor and basically serve as a big brother or sister. The goal is for mentors to share and describe their experiences going down the same path these athletes will be going down, and also be someone the athletes can share their experiences with. It does not require any coaching of technique, mental game, strategy, or fitness & nutrition.

Upcoming Fundraisers and Sponsor Opportunity

We are very excited to be hosting a few fundraisers in the near future:

#ITTAKESAVILLAGE store, where you can receive unique Pave the Path items with a certain donation amount.

Virtual Gala, which will be a combination of a talent show and inspirational speakers reflecting on #THEPOWEROFSPORT. Since it is virtual, we will mail attendees meals to prepare at their house for it, along with glassware and decorations so that everyone feels like they are there in person.

A One-minute Challenge that will hopefully go viral on social media where athletes ask followers to pledge money based on how many times they accomplish a task in one minute. It could be the number of 5-foot putts they make, number of free throws, or basically anything an athlete wants to create to raise awareness and money.

If anyone wants to donate to our mission outside of those fundraisers, we would humbly accept the following:

Monetary donations (will help pay for tournament & travel fees for the athletes), Sports equipment, Training aids, and Sports apparel.

We are looking for a sponsor for our Identi-teen podcast and would love to present sponsorship packages to any individuals or companies that are interested in being a sponsor in general.

Down the Line

Thank you to The Junior Golfer for allowing me to tell our story, which we are just beginning to write.

Related to telling stories, we have another goal to create a documentary and chronicle this amazing journey to reflect back on over time. If anyone would like to assist with that, we would be humbled.

“A person is a person through other persons.”

“I am because you are.”

“We are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.”

Contact

www.pavethepath.org

Email: info@pavethepath.org

Instagram: @pave_the_path_nonprofit

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