Friday, June 15, 2012

Part 2: Paying It Forward By Giving Back - The Guys With Heart

There’s a song in the Broadway show Damn Yankees that’s been on constant rewind in my head since I began finding out more about Nick LaRoche, Parker Pennington, Sean Rabbitt, Tim David and Doug Mattis.

You've gotta have heart - All you really need is heart - When the odds are sayin' you'll never win - That's when the grin should start.

When I approached the guys about writing this blog, I knew they would be forthcoming with the answers to my questions. What I wasn’t expecting was the tremendous amount of heart that came pouring out of each email. That shouldn’t have been a surprise, but the depth of their answers encouraged me to ask more questions, so I switched gears and asked where this passion began and what was the fuel that lit their philanthropic fire.

An Evening on Ice 2011 Cast
“What motivates me to give my time and talents comes deep from within; I’m that person my parents raised me to be. Never once did they tell me that I could not pursue my dreams due to financial set backs or lack of funding. These two people never once threw it in my face because they were mad or they had to go without. They supported and loved in any which way possible to keep me dreaming.”

Skate Dance Dream
“My devotion to my projects and every aspect of my life, is in large part thanks to one person that truly has inspired me: my father. He is a role model in every sense of the term. A veterinarian in Connecticut, he has such a passion for what he does. He is always so giving of his time, as he aims to makes every client feel right at home. His upbeat personality lifts the hearts of many. To me, it is all that more amazing because he has muscular dystrophy and yet, he has the will, fight and desire to continue to forge ahead and make a difference for every person he has the privilege to meet. He is someone who dives right in to help others: always willing to help out within the community, as evidence by his ability to lead one of the top 4H Programs in Connecticut, in addition to organizing annual dog walks, raising funds for therapy dogs.”

Skaters Care 2011
“The first time I really remember helping out, was around Christmas time and my brother and I were about 7 or 8. There was a lady from my mom's office who was hosting a Christmas party, and on the invite it said to bring a present to donate to a children’s home for orphaned kids. My mom asked many people what they were bringing and noticed that everyone was bringing toys and gifts for kids and babies, but no one was bringing anything for young adults and teenagers. My aunt LOVES Nordstroms, and when she would buy make up she would receive gifts with them. Any of the stuff my aunt didn't want she would give to my mom, who then in turn, took the make up and along with the assistance of my brother and me, would make up little gift bags to bring to the Christmas Party to donate to the teens at the children's home. Over the years Nordstrom's employees would give my aunt more and more make up when she told them what my mom did with them, and when we stopped going to the Christmas Parties for several years my mom brother and myself would make up bags to donate at Christmas time. This I think was the start of my Philanthropic efforts.”

Brian and Tim with ARFC Founders Dr. Terry & Faye Zealand
“Knowing I am helping to provide shelter, food, education, and medicine to the infants and children affected with HIV AIDS. My first act of volunteering as far as I can remember was during my teenage years at the rink. (1997-2000) The county (Union county of NJ) had a program for special individuals every Sunday at 1:00pm. It was a time for them to have a chance to have fun and skate. I immediately was drawn to them. I made their 30 minutes full of fun, entertaining them with spins and jumps. It felt great afterwards that I made a difference in their day. When they would come back the next season, they ask and look for me.

Doug with Tai Babilonia and Semantha Stevens
“Someone was always there to help me along the way—everything I got out of skating…so much that I value about being an artist and an interactive, sensitive human being…is really about a “village” helping me to have those transformative experiences. I learned early that I could be a part of that process, putting back into the “system” that gave me so much. Like a child that learns the bountiful joys of giving gifts (as well as receiving them), I discovered that it’s even more rewarding to help others-- and have them join me in a really good feeling about community…and self-expression.”

Mister you can be a hero- You can open any door - 
There's nothin' to it, but to do it
Parker and young SDD skater
First, you gotta have Heart

1 comment:

  1. This is inspiring. THIS is the true story of guy figure skaters--or at least, those who will be remembered.