Yen wakes up most weekdays at 6:45 a.m. After a quick breakfast and some family
time, the energetic 16-year-old heads to St. John’s High School, a premier
private school in Houston. That’s where she spends the next seven hours
balancing the curriculum of five Advanced Placement and Honors courses.
of that comes before varsity golf practice, of course.
spend three hours on the range, and then it’s time for homework. Hours of
homework. Even with all her obligations, commitments and responsibilities, Yen
still creates time for her greatest passion: providing quality education to
every child who needs it.
really enjoy being able to go out and help people in my community,” said Yen, a
community service officer at St. John’s. “I see there are so many kids and
people who don’t have the same access to education that I have, and I think it
is really important to work to give them access.”
October, Yen received the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award for her
efforts and service to the community. Each year, the award honors one male and
one female junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community
service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program, a joint
initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005.
am grateful for the opportunity through Leadership Links and community service
at my school to give back because it makes me feel so fulfilled,” Yen said.
“Community service is something special to me and this award meant so much.”
passion to give back started with her younger brother Christopher, who has
learning disabilities. During her brother’s doctor appointments, she noticed
the need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education
in underserved communities. Yen came up with an idea to provide STEM education
kits to organizations such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America,
Ronald McDonald House and children’s hospitals. Her nonprofit organization, “Kits
2 Kids,” has distributed over 2,500 hands-on learning tools to deserving young
people in the greater Houston area.
open these kits and interact with them, and you realize this is really cool
stuff,” YES Prep Public School Teacher Jesus Urdiales told the AJGA. “This is
amazing that she is able to do all this at a very young age.”
efforts with the Leadership Links program also raised more than $1,500 for the
Joy School in Houston, a school designed to help young kids with learning
disabilities. She also volunteers with The First Tee of Greater Houston as a
junior coach and mentor.
are just really proud to see that what she has worked so hard toward, both in
golf and community service, was able to be recognized,” said Kimberly Yen,
Ashley’s mother. “I think she’ll be very successful in everything she does, and
I hope that she always remembers the importance of helping others.”
off the course achievements are impressive enough, but she also happens to be one
of the top junior golfers in the state. Yen, who began playing when she was 9
years old, won the 2020 Texas Girls’ Invitational in February after carding
rounds of 72-69-73 at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course. She
also helped St. John’s to a state championship in 2019, and will again play a
key role this spring when the Mavericks look to win a fourth straight title.
recently committed to the admissions process at Yale University to play collegiate
golf following her high school graduation with sights firmly set on continuing to
build on her success as a junior golfer.
am really focused on improving and working on my game,” Yen said. “I want to
grow as a player, as I get ready for college golf.”
is well beyond her age. Her maturity and passion are demonstrated on and off
the golf course and provide an example to many. She’s just a junior in high
school, yet with so much in store for her future.
a passion or a cause that’s really close to your heart and give back to that
area,” Yen said. “Not only can you help so many other lives, it’ll also make
you feel so much better and become something that you really enjoy.”
learn more about Yen’s nonprofit, Kits 2 Kids, click here.