Going for the green for Africa: WHS’s Lesnar combines her 2 loves to connect with RwandaWORTHINGTON — The eyes of a golfer are always targeted on the green. Worthington’s Kate Lesnar is no different, seeing as she finished 14th in the state in her second career trip to Jordan.
WORTHINGTON — The eyes of a golfer are always targeted on the green. Worthington’s Kate Lesnar is no different, seeing as she finished 14th in the state in her second career trip to Jordan.
A deeper look into Lesnar’s eyes, however, reveal the undoubtable need to make a difference.
Lesnar was eyeing the green Wednesday at the Worthington Country Club, but it wasn’t for her score. It was for Africa at the third annual “All Day Fore Africa” (ADFA) golf tournament.
The tournament, along with a speech from Immaculee Ilibagiza in Sioux Falls, S.D., Monday, a musical performance from Kate’s sister, Annie, and Kailey Wendland Tuesday in Worthington and a golf tournament in California later this week, have raised more than $25,000. The funds will go toward building housing for teachers and a medical center in the Rwandan town of Kibeho.
“It’s what the community needs,” Kate said. “People would get a simple cut and some would end up dying because the nearest place to go is hours away and they have to get a stretcher or walk.
“It was amazing that they could get a little cut and end up dying from it. It makes me remember that we have a lot in the United States.”
What began as Kate playing 100 holes of golf by herself with the idea of raising $1,000 for a town she was about to visit, but had never seen two years ago, has grown into events across the country raising an amount 25 times that much.
“I never thought it would grow this much,” Kate said. “It’s so cool to think that we can all make a difference together and all work for the same cause.”
Kate raised $10,380 the first year, $21,800 the second year and is still counting this year.
“We are definitely over $25,000, but I’m hoping for $30,000,” said Kathy Lesnar, Kate’s mother, whose pictures from her trips to Kibeho inspired Kate. “When I see all these kids helping, I see the benefit it brings them.
“It makes them realize they can make a difference in the world, rather than focusing on if they have the right shoes or what’s on Facebook. We all want to make a difference. If you know you were created to make a difference and you fulfill that, that’s the benefit.”
The want to make a difference is nothing new to Kate. Counting the $1,500 Kate raised in third grade as part of the band “The Almighty Kids” for Haiti, Kate has raised over $60,000 for people other than herself. And that’s not including the lemonade stand she had when she was little in which the proceeds went to World Vision — an African child sponsorship program.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Kathy said.
For Kate, even with school out and storm clouds looming over the golf course, there’s no place she’d rather be.
“There’s nothing I’d rather do than help people and play golf,” Kate Lesnar said.
A golf ball Lesnar brought is cemented in a wall in Kibeho and the people there touch and rub it. Golf has never meant more to people who have never picked up a golf club.
“To them, golf means water,” Kathy Lesnar said.
For Kate’s dad, Jim Lesnar, golf means opening up the wallet. For the fundraiser, Kate golfs until the sun sets or until she golfs 100 holes. For dad, it’s $50 per eagle, $10 per birdie, $2 per par, 50 cents per bogey and, of course, $500 per hole-in-one to Africa.
“We thought we’d be forking over $800 the first year when Kate wanted to raise $1,000, so it’s come a long way,” Jim said. “It’s really cool to see her use her passion to help others.
“I think it’s so amazing that a high school kid can think outside the box and our little world here. I’m going to owe a lot, but I’m hoping for the hole-in-one.”
On a day when everyone wins, Kate has a reason to keep score.
“My dad actually said he was going to charge me for bogeys,” Kate said.
It’s all money well spent.
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy may be reached at 376-7328.