Kent Fujikawa is a recently retired teacher that spent his career teaching students with special needs essential life skills. And, now that he is retired he continues to do so through the game of golf.
Kent got his start working with the special needs community as a young man in San Francisco, Ca when he was hired as an art specialist at The Recreation Center for the Handicapped.
Through his involvement there, it really opened his eyes to all the joy that he gained as a result of working with people with disabilities and launched him into his career.
After that point, no matter what job he had he always made sure that he was volunteering to work with this population as it was a place that he loved to be and people that he loved to be around.
This ultimately brought him to the point of becoming a teacher at Sac City Unified School District where he taught students with intellectual disabilities essential life skills.
One of his favorite parts of his job was when he and his class got to get out of the classroom, as he thought it was great for his students to get out and about and get into new environments.
About 10 years ago he found about a program that was set up by the First Tee of Sacramento and the Sac City Unified School District’s Adaptive P.E. Department where the students were able to go out and play golf at William Land Golf Course.
So they went out, gave it a try and they have been going out ever since.
Most of his students (between the ages of 12 and 22) had never golfed before, so they got to go out and learn new things such as how to putt and chip as well as go to the driving range and learn how to hit balls.
Then, about a year ago Kent decided to retire after a long career.
However, soon after he felt like something was missing.
So, kent spoke to an old colleague of his to find out when his past students were going out to the course so that he could meet them there and be around them as they golf again.
As he was working with them he realized that this is what he had been missing. It filled him with so much joy to be around them again.
At the same time, members of the staff at William land saw his passion and asked him if he would be interested in volunteering.
Kent, of course, said yes and began the interview process to get involved and then started volunteering with these kids through the First Tee Golf Program.
Soon after, he learned about the California Eagles Program, a program that works with adults with disabilities through the game of golf, at Bing Maloney and started to volunteer with them as well.
Some of the biggest changes that he has seen in the kids with these programs are the comradery, how supportive they are of one another, and how everyone celebrates together which develops their relationships and brings a lot of positivity in their lives.
Kent works with these populations on learning the game but most importantly having fun and having a good time. Making it fun for them is a huge priority for him and he does this by organizing exciting activities as well as just checking in and making sure that everyone is having a good time.
For him, he does it all because it makes him happy. It’s that simple.
It’s the joy that he feels when he walks away that keeps him coming back.
This is the exact type of person that we love to have involved with our programs. The type of person that loves the game of golf so much that they want to share it with others and show the world the amazing benefits that golf can have for everyone!