We created this foundation in May 2015 after the accidental death of our 19-year-old son, Shaun Jr. (Also known as ShayJ). He was skateboarding with his two best friends on 3/31/15. His skateboard kicked out from under him, and he stepped into the street to grab it where he was struck by a car. He bounced off the car and hit his head on the street, where he died instantly. It was not the impact of the car that caused his death, it was his head hitting the street without a helmet.
Because of this tragedy, we visit local schools and youth organizations to talk to children about the importance of helmet safety. Our focus is on children between the ages of 7-12. We hope to change the way children view safety helmets. So many people think that they are “not cool” and not necessary. We feel that if we can influence children at a younger age about the importance of helmet safety, then when they are older, they will influence others. We call it “policing themselves”.
We start our presentation introducing ShayJ as the name and face of our foundation by showing his picture and telling the story of his accident. He was just a high school kid, hanging out with his friends when a senseless accident happened. This gives them a connection and a story they can relate to. We ask students why they do not wear helmets. This gives us an insight to their thinking, and we address their responses with common sense examples that are geared to their age group.
Our presentation lasts approximately 20 minutes. At the close, children that completed our survey and stated that they do not have helmet, are given one free of charge. The students are then offered a way to get a free helmet by telling us how our presentation changed their minds about helmet safety. The children sign a pledge that states that they will not only wear their helmet but encourage their friends to wear one as well.
We have partnered with Pro-Tec helmets to provide these unique bright green helmets. They have become the signature of our Foundation and are recognized throughout the entire valley.
Since 2015, we have distributed over 20,000 helmets and spoke to over 500,000 students. It is our goal to take this mission nationwide one day, by promoting helmet safety and education.
No family should EVER go through the pain of losing someone because they don’t understand the importance, or they cannot afford a safety helmet. Bicycles, skateboards, and scooters are used as the main transportation for many of the youth in our valley. It is the goal of the 4ShayJ Foundation to educate, empower and provide our youth with the tools needed to keep them safe.