Incoming Palmetto High School senior Evan Golinsky lost his father in 2016. His father had been walking the family dog in Coconut Grove when he was struck by a visually impaired driver. He remained in a coma for 11 months before passing.
Golinsky wanted to honor his father. So he created the Golinsky Fund at the Brain Trauma Foundation based out of Stanford.
Golinsky learned much about brain injuries from his father’s neurosurgeon and Dr. Jamshid Ghajar, Director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Center. Dr. Ghajar is also president of the Brain Trauma Foundation.
To raise money for the fund, Golinsky created the Golinsky Comedy Club, an annual event at Beth Am.
He brought together a bunch of stand-up comedians to put on a show. The comedy club featured Dave Barry at the first event and newcomer Joe Largo at the second one. The two events have raised $56,000 combined.
The money goes toward research on the guidelines on how to treat traumatic brain injuries. The guidelines affect anyone from a football player who has been hit in the head, to someone injured in a home accident.
“A brain injury affects more than someone who has been hit by a car,” Golinsky says.
Golinsky said his father taught him how to be resilient and never give up. He saw an opportunity to help others and honor his father. He’s happy he took that opportunity.
“I’m planning my third comedy club,” he says. “It’s been very meaningful to do such a thing.”
Golinsky says one of the reasons he chose to do the comedy club is that his dad was a huge stand-up comedy fan.
“I thought that was a fitting way to memorialize him,” he says. “Everyone can relate to comedy in some way. It’s a great unifier.”
When his dad’s injury occurred, the Golinsky family lived in Coconut Grove. Hurricane Irma flooded their home in 2017 and sent them to live in Pinecrest.
At Palmetto, Golinsky recently won the Outstanding Leadership Award. He’s the vice president of Student Council, a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Psychology Honor Society, secretary of the Social Science Honor Society, and secretary of the Jewish Student Union.
He says he’s going to work with the board to make sure Student Council is more inclusive for everyone at school.
“To make sure the majority of voices are heard,” he says. “So we are representing the entire school, not just a certain group.”
He’s a part of Achieve Miami and is on the Junior Advisory Board.
“I’m heavily involved. I go to the summer program,” he says.
Achieve Miami is now working out of Caribbean Elementary.
“They certainly need our help,” he says. “We are firmly established now at Caribbean.”
The Achieve Miami six-week summer program has a track-based system and the students on the advisory board contribute to the structure of the curriculum. He goes to Caribbean an average of two times a month to work with the students who need additional help with reading.
Last year Golinsky took Advanced Placement English and it confirmed that he loves to write.
“I enjoy writing,” he says. “I like using my brain in that way rather than STEM.”
He’s already had a meeting with his CAP counselor about colleges. Currently his list includes the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Duke and the University of Michigan.
He’s leaning toward going into law or business, but political science or economics are also possibilities.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld