By DAYNA DRUM | Reporter
For most high school students, required community service is just another step toward graduation, but three Palisades Charter High School students have turned the obligation into a passion.
Pali High varsity golf players Ethan Rautbort, Grant Ebner and Will Holbrow have been volunteering with Junior Blind of America for the past two years.
The three high school juniors work as golf coaches for Junior Blind programs and the Junior Blind Olympics and have co-chaired various fundraisers with the leaders of the organization. One fundraiser, “Walk in Their Shoes,” has participants do obstacle courses in blindfolds, which offers people a chance to experience what it’s like to be without sight.
Working with the kids in Junior Blind has helped all three boys form a different outlook on life.
“It kind of puts it into perspective…I’m so lucky to be able to see and it makes me really be able to appreciate it,” Rautbort said.
The kids in the programs range from 5-18 years old, but the three agree that the young ones are their favorite to work with. Ebner said “their energy and their imagination” is what he enjoys the most.
The surprising thing is how fast the kids—who have little to no golf experience before the classes—learn.
“If you were teaching someone who had sight it would take a lot longer and a lot more effort,” Rautbort said. This is possibly because of their heightened sense, the boys guess.
The game of golf has even changed for the young instructors, who have been playing since they were young themselves. The kids’ positive attitude lingers with the boys even when they are playing on their own.
“They never get angry even when they make a bad shot,” Holbrow said.
“An Evening with José Feliciano” is the next fundraiser the boys will be co-chairing, held at a private residence in Pacific Palisades on Jan. 30, 2016. The evening will offer a small concert with Grammy-winning guitarist José Feliciano and all proceeds will benefit the Junior Blind.
Independent of Junior Blind, the Pali High students are stirring change within their school as well. During their sophomore year, they formed a club called Sports for Change. With the remainder of the golf team making up membership, they host small fundraisers and donate the proceeds to various charities.
Recently, they also launched a website to promote their vision and current fundraisers they are working on.
In the future they hope to put on one more fundraiser before they graduate from Pali High and aim to continue working with disabled individuals.
“They’re just normal kids,” Ebner said.
For more information, visit teenswithavision.com
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