For Kari and Raquel Gordon, giving back to the game of golf is personal, because it wasn’t that long ago that they were junior golfers participating in the SCGA Junior Golf Foundation’s programs. After going from participants to volunteers and then scholars, the Gordons are now paying it forward for the next generation. As Change Makers, the Gordons each make an automatic, monthly donation to support the same programs that gave them so many opportunities.
“The impact that the Foundation has had on our lives and what we see on a daily basis makes it so easy to give back a little bit every month,” Kari said. “We know the experience and know the benefits and know the impact, so it’s been really cool to come full circle and help the next generation of golfers.”
The Gordons originally got involved with the Foundation through the Golf Pass program, which allows juniors to practice and play for $1-$5 at more than 150 courses across Southern California. As they became more and more involved, they became regulars at Mentor Play Days – special events that pair juniors with a mentor for a round of golf.
“The Play Days were of course our favorite events,” Raquel said. “We got to play with mentors at the best courses that you could possibly play and there’s no way we ever would have played there without the Foundation.”
Some of their favorite courses from these events are The Los Angeles CC and Lakeside GC.
As they reflect on these one-of-a-kind experiences though, the biggest impact for them is the professional development that was inherently part of the event. Both now work as accountants at PwC and were able to meet professionals from a variety of careers.
“It gave us perspective on jobs that we wouldn’t have considered or known what they were,” Raquel said. “The public speaking was a great opportunity to practice something that we hadn’t done before, talking to important adults. It was an area to grow as an individual and learning about the professional environment and feeling like we could reach out to our mentors.”
The Gordons have continued to apply these lessons in their daily lives, keeping in touch with mentors from these events and feeling comfortable and confident organizing golf and volunteer opportunities with their team at PwC because of the lessons they gained from the Foundation.
After graduating from the University of Redlands where both competed on the golf team, Kari says it was a no-brainer for them to start giving back once they had a steady income.
“We always felt really supported through youth golf, and also beyond that, we felt really believed in.”
The Gordons participated in nearly every program that the Foundation offers and want to ensure that other junior golfers continue to have the same opportunities that they did.
“We’ve seen what the Foundation has done for us and continues to do for other youth golfers including coaching, college prep and just helping kids be good people,” Raquel said. “The Foundation is definitely growing and it takes funding to keep growing. When you give to the Foundation, you can see where the money goes, you see the direct impact of your money.”
Especially as Change Makers, giving back has never been easier.
“It just comes right out of your account and you don’t even have to worry about it,” Raquel said. “It’s really simple and it feels good to make an impact on the world.”
For the next generation of juniors, the Gordons are paying it forward so others can grow and develop as they did.
“We believe in the purpose of the Foundation because we’ve been through it and know the impact that it has had on our lives,” Kari said. “We’re so grateful for everything that the Foundation has done for us.”
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