Thursday, December 8 , 2016, 2:14 am | Mostly Cloudy 47º


Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Don Parsons

Whether he's inspiring students to dream big or helping golfers perfect their game, this golf coach takes a similar approach

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by D.D. Ford Construction, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Don Parsons is an experienced mentor as a golf instructor and finds many of the same techniques work with students, too. 'Sometimes the right word at the right time can have life-changing effects on a young person,' he says. (Parsons family photo)
Don Parsons is an experienced mentor as a golf instructor and finds many of the same techniques work with students, too. “Sometimes the right word at the right time can have life-changing effects on a young person,” he says. (Parsons family photo)

Longtime golf coach and community member Don Parsons has found volunteering in local classrooms through Santa Barbara Partners in Education to be extremely productive and rewarding.

As the owner of the golf training and coaching facility, The Studio at Twin Lakes, Parsons has 22 years of experience working with students and building a business — experience he shares willingly as a guest speaker in Santa Barbara classrooms through the Santa Barbara Partners in Education’s Volunteer Recruitment & Coordination program.

Volunteering became an important part of Parsons’ life shortly after a friend suggested he become involved with Partners in Education, a nonprofit organization run under the Santa Barbara County Education Office umbrella. He quickly discovered the enjoyment in giving back to the community.

“I think the rewards of volunteering in the community are very evident,” he said. “In all honesty, I volunteer with Partners in Education for selfish reasons: it makes me feel good to do it.”

Experience as a golf coach often aids Parsons in his volunteer work as a mentor.

“Since I became a golf instructor 22 years ago, I have always had a great stable of high school golfers; over 70 of them have gone on to play college golf,” he said. “The bulk of what I do with young players is to coach them through a difficult time in their lives.

“As a mentor, I help to prepare them for bigger things than they often imagine. The opportunity to volunteer with Partners in Education and to have the opportunity to help a broader audience is a no-brainer to me.”

When working with students, Parsons stresses the importance of identifying and following a dream. He tries to teach students that they really can do anything if they set their minds to it.

“I hope to have an impact on the students I meet by letting them know that it’s important to have dreams and that we hold the ability to craft our futures in a way we see fit,” he said. “I’ve always been a dreamer and have been pretty successful at living the life that I imagined for myself. If I have a regret, it’s that I didn’t dream big enough. Too many people these days don’t have big dreams and can’t see that anything is possible. It is really as simple as that.”

Parsons believes that business professionals can have a more profound effect on students through volunteering than they may think.

“Offering advice to students who want it is one of the hidden treasures of talking with young people,” he explained. “The ability we have as ‘outsiders’ to have an impact on the students is really powerful because we are there specifically to offer help to them.”

Volunteering has become a vital aspect of Parsons’ life and he encourages community members to get involved.

“With the experience I have had as a golf coach I have learned that sometimes the right word at the right time can have life-changing effects on a young person,” he said. “You never know when or how that opportunity will present itself, but I am certain that it is much more likely to happen if I’m in their environment rather than sitting at my desk.”

                                                                  •        •        •

» Click here for more information about Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >