A $15 million global competition to empower children to take control of their own learning

 

In September 2014, I was chosen as a X-Prize Vanguard with 400 other amazing individuals from around the world to assist Peter Diamandis and the X Prize Foundation.  I am honored to be a part of something extraordinaire that will forever change the landscape of education and humanity.

The Global Learning XPRIZE challenges teams from around the world to develop open source and scalable software that will enable children in developing countries to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic within 18 months. Once the 18-month field-testing phase concludes, the prize purse will be objectively awarded to the team that generates the best international standardized test scores within the group of participating children. Our goal is an empowered generation that will positively impact their communities, countries and the world.  Learn more at www.xprize.org

Since March 1st, 2014, I have served on the board of directors for Michigan State University’s Los Angeles Spartans.  I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer my service as we continue the Spartan tradition of giving back to our community; especially for those transplants who moved from Michigan to California.  The funds we raise contribute to MSU’s endowment fund, as well as helps offset the costs of rising tuition for out-of-state students from California.

Every year Michigan State University has a Global Day of Service, that I participate in.

This year, the Los Angeles Spartans gathered at the LA Food Bank to prep over 26,000 lbs. of food for the needy.  Their vision is that no one goes hungry in Los Angeles.

Last year, we spent all day helping to feed the homeless and pass out clothing and toiletry items at the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles.  It was a humbling experience and a reminder to be grateful for basic needs of food and shelter.

December 2015, I was voted in a council member of the GAN Graziadio Alumni Network.  My main focus has been the launch of the Waves Ignite entrepreneurial community/platform.  Pepperdine University has a rich tradition of serving and helping others, which aligns with my core values.  Towards that end, I have volunteered many hours helping alumni through an Evisor platform; assisting them with career advice, resume crafting, entrepreneurship, etc.

For numerous years, I have supported Tony Hawk’s Standup For Skateparks yearly event in Beverly Hills at Ron Burkle’s Green Acres Estate.  My company Bamboo Skateboards has graciously donated longboards and skateboards, which further helps generate about $950,000 each year to help fund the building of skateparks in low income areas.

Giving back was always deeply routed in my company Bamboo Skateboards from day 1. 

For every 100 skateboard decks sold, we would give 1 to an at-risk youth.  Almost every skateboard we sold, a % was tied to a charity, including World Wildlife Fund, Musicares, Grind for Life, and many more.

This photo was taken in Compton, CA with an organization called Bridge to Skate

We spent the day with the kids and handed out free skateboards, t-shirts, wheels, hats, etc.  It was amazing to see how polite and respectful these young kids were, despite the tough neighborhoods they come from.  Every single day they come to the skatepark, they have to pass through gang-ridden territory.

I have attended the Fox TV Eco Casino charity event in Santa Monica a few times over the years, as we donated bamboo skateboards to the celebrity raffle.  Over $25,000 is raised each year for deserving charities such as Heal the Bay, Surfrider Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

We put together an event for Grind For Life that raised $1,800 to benefit www.grindforlife.org helping kids with cancer.  Our friend Mike has defeated cancer 2x and his organization helps families with cancer get the necessary transportation they need to the hospital, as well as accommodations for family members to stay near the hospital.  We also contributed proceeds from our sales at the Clash at Clairemont skateboard event.

Back in 2006, I helped out the Hollenbeck Youth Center in downtown Los Angeles with their “Miracle on 1st street” xmas event, which helps over 10,000 families in need.  I set up a skateboard village with Termite Skateboards / Grind King skaters (Austin Poynter) and handed out over 7000 tech decks, graciously donated by TechDeck/SpinMaster.  Celebrities at this event included Governor Arnold Schwarnegger, Tom Arnold, Dax Sheppard, Kobe Bryant, and many more.

 

I have personally delivered food and drinks, clothing, blankets to help the homeless in downtown Los Angeles on various occasions.  In fact, 1 time years ago near Thanksgiving,  I spent about 2 hours in the rain just sitting there talking to 2 people to learn about their story.