I am a fool for a heartwarming news story and this morning I got to start the day with one courtesy of Paul Rodriguez Jr. , Nike and Anthony Roletto. Here are the details and my thoughts:
About the News
It seems that Nike has a long standing partnership with Doernbecher's Children's Hospital. Out of that partnership the Freestyle Program was formed. The Freestyle Program is a fundraiser that involves six children chosen by hospital staff, each of which gets to design a one-off shoe designated for a fall launch. So far two of this year's designs have been released. The most recent was a signature Paul Rodriguez Jr. skate shoe designed by 10 year old cancer survivor, Anthony Roletto. The shoe is called the SB Vulc Rod and it is currently selling for $65. Roletto put his heart and soul into designing the shoes. They include a self portrait of him donning boxing gloves and are gray suede with red and yellow trim.
In a world where corporate greed is as prevalent as the air we breathe it does a heart good to hear about such partnerships. In my opinion, when it comes to such charitable acts more companies should "Just Do It" like Nike. Personally, I am much more impressed with the Freestyle Program's kid designed shoes than I was with the company's t-shirts that caused such controversy in Boston, Massachusetts, this past summer. I think that the shoes capture the inherent nature of skate culture far better than the t-shirts did. For me, skaters are stewards of the human spirit, creativity and strength. They remind us to look at our environment in new ways and overcome obstacles; two things that this world needs more of. To prove my case, let's take a closer look at pro skater Paul Rodriguez.
About Paul Rodriguez Junior
Just this month he was the recipient of the Stoked Achievement Award. Stoked is an organization that teaches life skills to disadvantaged youth through action sports. It is one of many programs that the 27 year old has been involved with over the years. He has quite an impressive history of humanitarian and charitable efforts that include work with the Nike Let Me Play Program and the Ryan Sheckler Foundation's Skate for a Cause. Rodriguez's penchant for charity appears to be homegrown. His father, Paul Rodriguez Senior, also has a history of charity work. Rodriguez Senior won the Ruben Salazar Award for his efforts and is considered, "one of the most influential Hispanics in America."
My children are skateboarders and I have a history of following the sport.
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