Adaptive Golf Alliance fundraiser helps people with disabilities hit the links
For many, the warmer weather means it's time to dust off the golf clubs and hit the nearest course.
The United States Adaptive Golf Alliance in Westmont aims to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to learn the game, no matter their abilities.
The group's Junior Board, which includes 10 high school students, will host a fundraiser Sunday, March 21, to raise money to provide free clinics for adaptive golfers.
The students shared information about the upcoming event.
Q: What is the United States Adaptive Golf Alliance? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.
A: The United States Adaptive Golf Alliance is a U.S. based, 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Westmont. We seek to advance human potential, break barriers and promote equality by including people with disabilities in the fabric of society through the game of golf.
We directly provide adaptive golf programs and services in Illinois and fill a gap in national leadership by serving as the official voice of 38 constituent-member organizations across the country.
Q: How many people per year do you serve?
A: The USAGA and its constituent members provide adaptive golf experiences to tens of thousands of individuals with disabilities annually. Nearly a quarter of these individuals are combat wounded veterans.
Q: What are some of your programs?
Adaptive Golf Enhancement Program -- training and enhancement program for developing adaptive golf coaches and players.
Starting New at Golf -- instruction for youth with disabilities from 10 years up to 22 years old.
Driving Range Clinics -- transferring learning skills to real golf equipment.
Get Out and Play -- on-course experiences, rules and etiquette.
Competitive playing opportunities -- regional and national tournaments hosted by USAGA and other member-constituent organizations utilizing sport classes based upon IPC guidelines so everyone can fairly compete.
Inclusion -- connector to golf-related and veteran employment opportunities.
A sampling of recent awards and recognition the USAGA has received in response to the success of its programming are: PGA of America Partner in 2020; and Player Development Award, International Network of Golf (ING Golf) in 2019.
Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?
A: Our mission and programs are supported by private monetary donations (individual and corporate), foundation and government grants, event revenues and in-kind donations of equipment, facilities and program services. The majority of our donations come from individuals.
Q: Tell us about your event. How does it work? What does it cost?
A: It's from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 21, at Topgolf Naperville, 3211 Odyssey Court. Participants are able to play games, eat and bid in a silent auction. The cost is $100 per participant. Proceeds go toward our efforts at the USAGA to provide free clinics for adaptive golfers.
Q: How can people participate?
A: We've made it very easy to participate! To play in the event is $100 a person, but donations of any kind are welcome. Our event website is www.usaga.org/2021juniorboard.html.
Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?
A: Any help is appreciated! Be it donating on our website, simply spreading the word about the event, volunteering to become an adaptive coach, or signing up for email communication from the USAGA. We appreciate it all.
Q: What else would you like readers to know?
A: That any donation goes a long way, and your donation will be used responsibly and effectively.
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United States Adaptive Golf Alliance fundraiser
When: Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 21
Where: Topgolf Naperville, 3211 Odyssey Court
Cost: $100 per person
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Students share motivation for helping with fundraiser
United States Adaptive Golf Alliance Junior Board members share why the fundraiser is important to them.
• Rei Hemmer, Hinsdale Central High School: "I was motivated to do this fundraiser mostly by the fact that a lot of what we've been able to do this year has been so limited, and this was a safe way to not only promote a good cause, but to achieve a sense of normalcy and fun while doing so."
• Michael Blake, Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox: "I have been involved with the USAGA since before the merger with the Freedom Golf Association. Having been an adaptive golf coach for about a year and a half, I see the results of our fundraising efforts firsthand. This fundraiser allows the USAGA to keep our clinics free for all of our participants."
• Caroline Owens, Hinsdale Central High School: "Golf has given me many opportunities and has become an activity that I really love to do. It is something that I think everyone should be able to experience and enjoy. This has motivated me to take part in the fundraiser, as I hope it will allow those who normally would not be able to participate in the sport do so in adaptive golf clinics that let them enjoy and experience the sport."
• Jake Owens, Fenwick High School in Oak Park: "I have been involved with Freedom Golf Association (now USAGA) for three years now, and I have seen firsthand the physical and emotional impact many adaptive golfers feel during these events. Being a senior, this will be my last year on the Junior Board, so I am particularly motivated to do this fundraiser."
• Sarah Thornton, Hinsdale Central High School: "I was motivated to do this fundraiser because I thought it would be a great opportunity to help out adaptive golf and be good for the golf community overall. What we have been able to do this year regarding social gatherings has been restricted, and this is a great way to allow more people to enjoy golf."
• Emily Ascher, Hinsdale Central High School: "I was motivated to get involved in the fundraiser because it's something fun and uplifting that's happening in the midst of a pretty bad year, and it's giving people an opportunity to partake in a fun event for a really great cause."
• Michael Spitzer, Hinsdale Central High School: "I was motivated to get involved with this fundraiser because I want to support the cause and raise funds for a great organization. It also is a fun way to introduce people to Freedom Golf and help support the cause."
• Ben Rasmussen, Hinsdale Central High School: "I decided to get involved with the USAGA/FGA because I saw how it could provide unique golf opportunities to those who would not otherwise be able to experience the joy of the game. Growing up a dedicated golfer, and being able to create lasting memories through playing golf, I want to do my best to create these opportunities for others. I ultimately decided to do this fundraiser so I could learn more about ways to help others find golfing opportunities, no matter their setbacks. I believe that it is my mission to help everyone who wants a golf opportunity find one."
• Jackson Steigbigel, Hinsdale Central High School: "Having the opportunity to work as a team to help raise money for a good cause isn't very common, especially in a time like this. I was very eager to be a part of this Junior Board to not only work as a team but to help others experience the great game of golf like I know it as.
• Drew Brasky, Providence Catholic High School: "I was motivated to do this fundraiser because I love raising money for great organizations like USAGA and FGA. It is also a chance for people to have some fun and forget about the tough year we have gone through. I love helping others play, enjoy, and learn golf, and this fundraiser helps us do that."