Two First Tee – Greater Richmond Teens Selected for Game Changers Academy

Rita Eovino and Justin Hartsfield both chosen for the five-day learning and empowerment academy

Richmond, Va. (May 22, 2024) Rita Eovino and Justin Hartsfield from First Tee — Greater Richmond have been selected to attend the First Tee Game Changers Academy Honoring Joe Louis Barrow, Jr. in Minneapolis, July 9-13. Eovino and Hartsfield are two of 72 teens from the First Tee network who has been selected for the five-day learning and empowerment academy that is designed to enlighten, inspire, encourage, and position teens to be Game Changers in their current and future communities.

Eovino is a rising junior at Monacan High School and has been a First Tee – Greater Richmond participant for 10 years. She is currently the secretary of the Junior Advisory Board (JAB) and serves as a junior coach for First Tee Programs. Last summer, Eovino attended the Nike Junior Golf Camp at the University of Virginia.

Similarly, Hartsfield is a junior coach and is the treasurer of the JAB. A rising sophomore at L.C. Bird High School, Hartsfield has been a First Tee – Greater Richmond participant for the last four years. Hartsfield was part of First Tee – Greater Richmond’s Redmond Cup team in the summer of 2023.

“We are elated to have both Rita and Justin represent First Tee – Greater Richmond at the First Tee Game Changers Academy,” Kelly Brown, First Tee – Greater Richmond Vice President for Impact, said. “It has been wonderful to watch their growth both on and off the course over the last several years, and both have made a huge impact on our organization as participants and Junior Advisory Board members.

“I know they will have a similar impact at the Game Changers Academy, and we are excited to have them return and share the lessons learned in Minneapolis.”

During the Game Changers Academy, participants will take part in important conversations embracing topics of self-awareness, inclusivity, and community building. First Tee invites its partner, RISE, a national leader in the sports community championing social justice, to facilitate engaging and interactive workshops paired with introspective activities and reflections led by our nationally trained First Tee coaches.

The Academy is an evolution of First Tee’s longest-standing participant event, honoring First Tee’s former CEO, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., who led the organization from 2000 until his retirement in 2017. It’s one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee headquarters designed to inspire and encourage high school students on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities.


About First Tee – Greater Richmond
First Tee – Greater Richmond is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Through three major programming areas, First Tee Programs, School Program and Community Partnerships, First Tee – Greater Richmond reaches approximately 70,000 youth annually. Learn more at