BURLINGTON, Vt. - Few things are better than diving into Lake Champlain on a hot summer day. How about trying a new water sport? For some kids, having the resources to do that isn’t possible. That’s where The Chill Foundation steps in.
For Allie Nappi-Thompson and Dominic Sunderland, spending an afternoon paddleboarding on Lake Champlain is something neither of them thought they would ever experience.
“I’ve learned to keep my balance on my board," Nappi-Thompson said. "People say I have great balance, but I’m not so sure.”
“I’ve seen a lot of kids fall, but they get right back up,” Sunderland said.
They’re just two of 1,500 kids across the world who will benefit from The Chill Foundation this year.
Alex Bornstein, Executive Director of the Chill Foundation says their program helps young people overcome challenges through board sports.
“We work in 17 different cities with youth facing a variety of challenges, from foster care to drug addiction to mental health challenges, to socio-economic challenges,” Bornstein said.
Burton’s Jake Burton and Donna Carpenter founded the now international non-profit 22 years ago.
“We have six themes and each session is a different theme: respect, courage, patience, persistence, responsibility and pride,” Bornstein said.
"I like persistence because everyone tries really hard when they're at Chill," Sunderland said.
Paddleboarding isn’t the only board sport kids can do through The Chill Foundation. They can also learn to snowboard, skateboard, and even surf.
"Skateboarding is my favorite," Nappi-Thompson said.
These sessions are offered across the world at no cost to the kids. The organization depends on donations and grants.
“We’re all so stoked to share these sports with them that we absolutely love,” Bornstein said.
Each kid works with a mentor for one-on-one support. The program's age range is from 10 to 18.
The Chill Foundation has more than 21,000 alumni across the world. To learn more about Chill Burlington, click here.
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