Healing hearts with skateboarding | TheUnion.com

Healing hearts with skateboarding

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What: No Other Way — A Benefit for SkateMD

When: 5-11 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Center for the Arts, Plaza Gallery & Parking Lot, 998 Plaza Drive, Grass Valley

Admission: Free event from 5-8 p.m., $10 suggested donation for live music show from 8-10 p.m.

For info: Go online at thecenterforthearts.org or call 530-274-8384

No Other Way is a fundraiser presented by The Center for the Arts in partnership with Goodtimes, Mint and SkateMD. Beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, people of all ages can skate on quarter-pipes, enjoy art, music and food in the parking lot of the Plaza Gallery off Brunswick Road.

SkateMD is on a mission — a mission to heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional or family challenges. Serving children who may not otherwise be able to pursue skateboarding, don’t have easy access to skateboard equipment or facilities, and/or those who just need some extra kindness in their lives.

The Northern California based nonprofit organization was founded by Melanie Tillotson (the “M”) and Andrea “Drea” Bibelheimer (the “D”). Inspired by each other’s personal passions and contributions to at-risk and special needs children, Melanie and Drea joined forces as “partners in kind” with a mission to heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional or family challenges.

The program was created in 2014 in response to a viral video of a hate crime against a teenage boy with autism. 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.

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They provide one-on-one clinics for children ages 5-17 to experiment with skateboarding, to fine-tune skills or to just have fun. The programs pay special attention to the individual needs of our participants. Participant coordination is facilitated by board member Erik Nielsen; additional volunteer therapists are recruited for our clinics to support both volunteers and children. Each clinic also hosts approximately 70 amazing volunteers, 50-60 of whom are local area skateboarders.

SkateMD’s skateboarding clinics have benefited many Northern California children including those with special needs, foster youth, and other at-risk children.

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