Helping kids gain access to the sport he had no access to growing up
Courtesy National Winter Activity Center As a young African-American male growing up in the housing projects of the South Bronx, Schone Malliet never even dreamed of skiing—a sport typically associated with affluence and whiteness. Then in his 20s, he found himself at the top of a ski slope in Park City, Utah, having been “dragged there” by a squadron-mate from the Marine Corps, in which Malliet was doing a seven-year stint that he ultimately parlayed into a college education and also an MBA. Despite his strong athleticism, Malliet experienced what many adults who weren’t exposed to skiing as children: awkwardness, discouragement, embarrassment, and a feeling of not quite belonging. Nevertheless, after Malliet left the Corps for a successful career in business and finance, he gave skiing another shot, and this time, it took hold along with a powerful idea: What if people of color, and especially children of color, had no reason to feel out of place on a ski mountain? Nice idea, but who was going to believe it, right? And who was going to pay for all those kids to get to the mountains, let alone have access to the necessary gear, clothing, and equipment? And who was going to pay for the lessons, because anyone who has skied even once knows that you can’t do it without lessons? Well, fast-forward to 2010, when Malliet, a successful businessman, was finally ready to do something to make it happen. To that end, he co-founded the National Winter Sports Education Foundation whose mission is to encourage teens, especially teens of color, to get over the fear that was once associated with “country clubs of the 50s and 60s” and venture outside their perceived limitations as well as into the fresh white powder. Malliet also founded the National Winter Activity Center in Vernon, New Jersey, the nation’s first 501(c)(3) nonprofit facility/outdoor winter environment dedicated to improving the lives of youth through winter activity. Through its program “Elev8,” the Center provides instruction, healthy meals, equipment, and role model/mentoring. Through partnerships with YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs, Schools, and other youth-serving agencies, the Center served more than 1,160 children this past year and expects that number to increase to 2,200 in 2018. “I know that I would not be where I am in life without the guidance I received from those who protected or sheltered me from things that could have gotten in my way growing up. The Center is a culmination of everything I’ve done in my life,” Malliet says. “I’ve invested my heart in this. To be able to run a business and be in the industry I have passion for, while also giving back and actually seeing the excitement and changes in the kids, makes this experience truly mean the world to me.”
Building entrepreneurs from the inner cities
Courtesy Life Changers 180, LLC Robert L. Dudley was the oldest of seven children, and he never knew his real father. He grew up in the projects of Los Angeles, but never in any one building for very long. “By the time I was a senior in high school, we had moved around enough for me to attend 17 different schools,” he says. He dropped out and left home as soon as he turned 18, then found his way into the Army Infantry where he spent three years of his life. While stationed in South Korea, Dudley earned his GED. When he left the service, he began college but felt lost, like something was missing from inside him. He thought he might find it by tracking down his father, which he did, and which turned out to be a horrible, life-changing disappointment that inspired him to make a better man of himself. That week he signed up for college classes again. Eventually, he obtained five degrees, including a Ph.D. in theology. Then, he parlayed his passion for learning and communicating into several successful businesses and several books. But for Dudley, the most important thing he has accomplished is forming Life Changers 180, a success coaching company that teaches how to achieve your dreams and takes its methods to the inner cities to help underprivileged children like he once was to stay in school and attain their goals. Dudley’s next goal is to get various community leaders in Washington, D.C. and the inner cities of Baltimore to get on board with his plan to help “build entrepreneurs” in traditionally poor areas. “We can all help someone, even in a small way,” Dudley says. Here are ten random acts of kindness you could do today.
Mentoring inner-city youth and women undergoing divorce
Courtesy Heather Monohan, heathermonohan.com When Heather Monahan’s mother left her father, she had no job and no way to support herself and her four kids. With literally nowhere else to go, they ended up at the front door of her grandparent’s house in Worcester, a formerly industrial but now down-on-its-luck city in central Massachusetts. But the house was tiny, so tiny in fact that there was nowhere for Monahan, her siblings, and her mother to sleep. So they ended up moving into an abandoned trailer behind the house. “My mom worked three jobs to put food on the table. Sometimes we used food stamps to get by.” As an adult, Monahan managed to escape the dreariness of her youth and made a home in glittering South Beach, Florida, where she is a top-ranking executive of a media company. The affluence she has earned, together with the power of her position, has enabled her to secure a spot on the board of directors of City Year Miami, a charity dedicated to helping inner city youth advance through school and survive their challenging circumstances. In addition, Monahan has launched a personal brand aimed at mentoring women and teaching them the shortcuts and hacks to get ahead in business and in life. A single mom to her son, Monahan has also been featured in the media as an expert on bouncing back from the pain of a divorce and about overcoming a difficult childhood to succeed as a “boss in heels.”