Advancing National Service

Leave It to Teenagers to Find the Most Fun Way to Help Disabled Vets

February 6, 2014
Leave It to Teenagers to Find the Most Fun Way to Help Disabled Vets
Jared Whitaker and Drew Redish wanted to do good. They also wanted to go skiing.

Pittsford, N.Y., high school juniors Jared Whitaker and Drew Redish have always loved two things: skiing and helping others. So they founded the charitable group SSWISH, which stands for Skiers and Snowboarders Wish to Make a Difference. For their first project they raised money for Oasis Adaptive Sports, a non-profit that provides outdoor adventures and sporting activities to disabled veterans. On January 17, SSWISH held a “Ski-Lay”–a relay race on skis–at Bristol Mountain north of Rochester, during which costumed teams, including one wearing tutus and Mardi Gras beads, competed and raised money for Oasis. According to SSWISH’s Facebook page, adaptive equipment used to help disabled veterans learn how to ski was also on hand. Reddish told Stacey Pensgen of WROC, “Jared and I have always kind of been interested in helping veterans in some way, but we’re like, ‘we’re teenagers, what can we really do?’ so we decided to target something that we love, skiing.” The success of their Ski-Lay proves there’s plenty that teenagers can do to help vets.