Emplicity is proud to announce their sponsorship of SkateMD, a Northern California based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to “heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional or family challenges.”
SkateMD was founded by two friends connected through skateboarding (the “Skate”), Melanie Tillotson (the “M”) and Andrea “Drea” Bibelheimer (the “D”), who were inspired to use their skills and experiences to do something to empower children, especially those deemed at-risk or special needs, in their local community. The program was created in 2014 in response to a viral video of a teenage boy with Autism who was viciously “pranked” while believing he was participating in the ice bucket challenge that was popular at the time. Upon seeing the video, Drea and Melanie were simultaneously heartbroken and moved to do better for children with special needs.
As members of skateboarding families and strong advocates of kindness, Melanie and Drea set out to empower children with exercise, positive interactions, and fun while increasing tolerance, compassion, and support within the community. With their respective backgrounds in community relations and nonprofit leadership, and the support of a quickly-formed board of directors, they were able to gain nonprofit status, have a logo and site designed, receive skateboard and gear donations, recruit over 50 volunteers and host their first clinic with 25 children from the community just two months after the viral video surfaced.
The program is able to pay special attention to the individual needs of each participant thanks to coordination facilitated by board member, Erik Nielsen (PT, DPT, PCS), a board certified clinical specialist. Erik speaks with the families of the participants ahead of time to learn more about each individual child and obtain information that would be helpful to the designated volunteer(s). Additional volunteer therapists are recruited for the clinics to support both the volunteer skaters and the children. Each clinic currently hosts approximately 70 volunteers, of which 50 to 60 are local area skateboarders.
One story that really embodies the mission of the organization comes from one of the earlier clinics that a teenage girl with cerebral palsy and balance issues attended. The girl was starting high school and arrived at the clinic with the goal of learning to ride a longboard so that she could ride it to school. By the end of the clinic she was cruising around the skate park with confidence. Later, her mom emailed the staff to let them know how truly life-changing the experience was for her. Prior to the clinics she had been depressed, had low self-esteem and wasn’t being social. After attending, she was able to ride around the neighborhood, ride to school and even walk the dog on her skateboard. Her confidence skyrocketed with her determination, and just a little assistance from this organization helped to make it happen.
While nonprofits are essentially designed to help the underprivileged overcome certain challenges, they aren’t immune to having challenges of their own. One challenge for SkateMD, as an all-volunteer organization, is finding the capacity, funding and resources to grow their organization larger in order to be able to benefit even more members of their community. Emplicity specializes in helping nonprofits overcome their HR challenges, and they wanted to give back to their Northern California community as well, which is why they are proud to be a sponsor of SkateMD’s fourth birthday celebration and fundraiser. The event will be held on Sunday, November 11th in the Sacramento area, and will feature DJ and live music, an out-of this world raffle, a silent auction featuring artists from the local and skateboarding community, an awards program, and of course birthday cake! Businesses and individuals interested in becoming a sponsor can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
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Outsourcing should be simple and meaningful. As a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), we strive to be a great partner in supporting your business. If you would like to request more information on how we can assist your needs, please reach out to us at 877-476-2339. We are located in California – Orange County, Los Angeles, and the greater Sacramento and San Francisco area.
NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of their clients.