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 Phil Mickelson, Chris Young Partner with SDCOE to Help Students Start the School Year Right

​Golfer Phil Mickelson and Padres pitcher Chris Young recently partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education to provide back-to-school clothing and supplies to more than 1,600 needy and deserving students in separate charitable events at local department stores.

Mickelson and his wife Amy were at the Murphy Canyon Wal-Mart at 5:15 a.m. on August 18, greeting the first of 1,500 elementary students at the Mickelson Foundation's third annual "Start Smart" event.

"We're just fortunate to be in a position to help kids and their families," said Mickelson, who grew up in the San Carlos area. "We get to see a lot of happy people at these events, but Amy and I get at least as much of a kick out of it as they do."

Each of the students enjoyed a $200 shopping spree for clothes and supplies. The students came from South Bay Union, San Diego Unified, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Santee and Vista Unified School Districts.

Also in attendance were County Superintendent Randy Ward and District Superintendents Joyce Bales, Liz Johnson and Carol Parish, and Deputy Superintendent Gino Flores.

Five days earlier, Padres pitcher Chris Young and his wife Liz met approximately 120 students from three special programs at the Mission Valley Target store, where he presented the students with new backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

"Education has always played an important role in our lives, and we wanted to share our passion for school with the children of San Diego," said Young, a Princeton graduate. To see the joy in the students' faces when they received their new backpacks and school supplies was thrilling for us."

Two JCCS sites took part in the Young's event: Oak Creek School and Harbor Community School. Also taking part were students at Hillcrest School, formerly part of the JCCS system but now administered by San Diego Unified School District. Oak Creek and Hillcrest serve student who've been abused or abandoned; Harbor serves students who are homeless.