Student volunteers help disabled kids hit the slopes

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Five-year-old Eric is gearing up for his ski lesson and like a lot of days here at the National Sports Center for the Disabled, the morning is starting off with a miracle.

Doctors told Pam Hense her son would likely never walk or talk and basically be a vegetable.  Back for his third day of ski lesson, Eric continues to prove his doctors wrong.

And there’s Patrick, who struggles with his motor skills and unlike most first time snowboarders is showing no fear. As they make their way to the beginners hill at Winter Park, High School students from CO Young Leaders are right there with them.

“We throw students into volunteering hoping it will click,” says founder Nicole Mahobian.

The student volunteers bridge their love for sports and community service.

Kat Carlton, a senior at Mountain Vista says, “It’s such a character builder. It’s teamwork, trial and failure.”

The kids aren’t the only ones with big smiles on their faces.  For these high school students helping these skiers attack the mountain despite their challenges is equally rewarding.

“It really puts perspective on life. Just to see the joy of, I just went down the mountain snowboarding!” says Kat.

Arapahoe High School freshman Lucas Bergeman adds, “It just makes me so happy and anything is possible.”

Parents understand these high school students are gaining valuable life lessons.

“Everybody has a different challenge in life and that they notice it and can help out and you know Lucas has warmed Eric’s heart and I hope Lucas gets something back from it the more you give, the more you get.” Pam says.

Kat adds, “That is so important to who you are and building your perspective. “I get to build relationships with these kids, that are building relationships with others.”

And creating memories for moms like Pam, “I’m super thrilled, I could just watch him slide his feet back and forth, that does something for me that I can’t even describe in words.”

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