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Volunteer helps people of all abilities enjoy outdoor activities

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Sep 8, 2015
by Parker Morehouse, Cory Netland and Jordan Pederson, UMD Writing 1120 students
Laskowski volunteers for the ski program in the winter, the sailing program in the summer and also helps out with special events. Coming from a family with a passion for the outdoors, he was exposed to many of the same activities that he helps people experience at Courage Kenny, such as skiing, sailing, biking and hiking. Laskowski got involved there through a friend, who knew he'd enjoy it.

Before his volunteer work, he enjoyed spending his time traveling all over the United States and visited Europe a few times. Lawskowski lived in Colorado for a few years before returning to Duluth, where he spent the majority of his life.

Laskowski worked for Minnesota Power as a "computer guy" for 35 years before he retired. Now, he's involved in a group of active baby boomers that gets together whenever they find an event to attend. They do things such as hiking, kayaking and dancing. Today, Laskowski is a retired father of three. Beyond enjoying doing outdoor activities, he enjoys visiting his daughter in Europe.

Courage Kenny provides recreational programs and competitive adapted sports for youth and adults with physical disabilities, vision loss and for youth on the autism spectrum. These activities enhance their independence, improve their self-confidence and encourage them to lead active, healthy lives, says Lisa Lauzon, Courage Kenny's coordinator of volunteer services.

Formerly named the Minnesota Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Courage Kenny was founded in 1928 and has grown to affect many more lives than imagined. As a ski lover (skiing since age 6 and still racing in a recreational ski league) and volunteer, Laskowski helps people with disabilities learn to ski or relearn skiing by using adaptive ski equipment.

Laskowski also volunteers his time in the sailing program. He sometimes rides with his clients, occasionally teaching them how to sail, while others manage with him sailing alongside them in a separate boat.

"I love to sail and it's nice to share what I love to do with others," he said.

Laskowski has volunteered with Courage Kenny Northland for two years and plans to stay there for years to come. "It's just nice to give back a little," he states. He loves to volunteer and to make a difference in the community.


Thank you for volunteering Steve!