A few years ago we met this girl. We call her Peach.
She's the girl behind the magic shoes.
The shoes that make kids strong when they are going through hard things.
The shoes that give kids the ability to talk about something when there is nothing else to talk about.
The girl that teaches KINDNESS matters.
Peach's Neet Feet.
She told us about Ryan Sheckler.
A year and a half ago I didn't know who Ryan Sheckler was.
Keep in mind that two and a half years ago was the first time I set foot in a skatepark.
And it was with a bunch of people in wheelchairs with Life Rolls On.
At that point all I knew was the skate park was an amazing way for Kumaka to level the playing field....he was already on wheels after all.
I discovered that the able bodied skaters were pretty cool, that most of them thought that Kumaka was pretty awesome for trying stuff and they were all super cool about giving him a helping hand when he needed it.
(Who knew I would end up becoming a skate mom???)
Peach entered an initiative called "Be The Change" that is hosted by The Sheckler Foundation.
"In 2012, we launched our “Be the Change” initiative. This web-based program allows our supporters to nominate the areas where they want to see change occur in the lives of children and injured action sports athletes. Then our entire network can vote for the cause they’d not only like to see win, but will support. We love that our supporters now have a voice and a platform that help guide our fundraising and giving. The Sheckler Foundation will come along side the winner giving them a $10,000 grant and help make their plans a reality!"
Peach invited some of her crew to the Sheckler "Skate For A Cause" event where she was awarded the "Be The Change" grant of $10,000.
It was a great day of skating, game playing, and meeting new people. That was the first day we met Ryan Sheckler. The next day, we were lucky enough to go to his compound to watch a few Peach kiddos receive their magic Peach's Neet Feet shoes and since there were skate ramps there, SKATE.
Ryan gave Kumaka a hand up and a tip on how to go down this pretty steep ramp. Kumaka had a blast and it was so fun to hang out with Ryan and some of his "Board"members. But it was even cooler to see people making a difference....people being KIND. What amazing examples to our son. To this day these people keep in touch with us.
To be honest, we didn't really think we would see Ryan and his family again. I mean...he's famous and pretty busy! But I learned something about this family, about this foundation. They don't meet you, take you in, and then never see you again. Once you are in their circle, you are a part of the Sheckler Foundation Family. And it's a pretty amazing family. This year, at the Skate for a Cause event, The Sheckler Foundation did something pretty amazing and allowed an exhibition of WCMX skating prior to the pro skating that was done. Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham, Mathew FloHawke Hawkins, Quinn Waitley, Riley Phelps, and Kumaka were invited to skate for half an hour (Also pictured is Box Wheelchair rep and mentor Troy McQuirk) and it was pretty cool to show others that adaptive athletes can rock a skate park.
What a great day that was!
A few months later, Kumaka and a few of the kids he has met through the Sheckler Foundation were invited to the inaugural Sheckler Foundation Gala prior to the yearly Golf Tournament that is their huge fundraiser. Kumaka was very honored and excited to get dressed up and greet the guests as they arrived.
Prior to dinner, a few people that were touched by the Sheckler Foundation spoke. There were no dry eyes in the house. As I listened to the stories, I realized that although Ryan Sheckler is a very busy young man, traveling all over for his sport, his endorsements, etc. he takes time out of all of that to let his community know that he cares. When it matters, he is there. This young man, this foundation, doesn't stop at writing checks. They truly care about people. About community. About family.