We created this foundation in May 2015 after the accidental death of our 19-year old son, Shaun Jr. (ShayJ). He was out 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. He was hit 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 concrete without a helmet.
Because of this tragedy, we visit local schools and youth organizations to talk to children about the impact 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 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 our son as the name and face of our foundation by showing his picture and telling the story of his accident. We feel that this gets their attention. 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 offer a question/answer period asking them why they do not wear a helmet when they are riding their skateboards, bicycles or scooters. This gives us an insight to why and we address their responses with common sense examples that are geared to their age group.
Our presentation lasts approximately 25 minutes. At the close, we offer children who cannot afford a helmet one ofthey also receive a business card that explains to their parents about our story and why their child has a new helmet. We also have the child 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 to us at wholesale prices. They also help us to promote 4ShayJ helmet safety on their website and Facebook pages. We also attend local school events in which we set up a booth and talk to children and parents individually about helmet safety. It is our goal to teach children that helmet safety is important and we can only affect change if they are willing to police themselves and spread the word to their friends.
We are a fairly new charity, but in our short time we are proud to say that we have provided over 5000 helmets to needy children in our community! It is our goal to double that number in 2018. The only thing holding us back is funding. So far, all of our donations have been from friends, family and fans of our Facebook page.
No family should EVER go through the pain of losing someone just because they could not 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.