Monday, March 28, 2011

power of kids

This past weekend i had two of the most amazing kids stay with me Under the Bridge
Treyson 8
Conner 5

Please read the note below that Travis (Treyson's dad wrote)

On Friday, March 25, 2011, my son Treyson (8) and I joined Mike Smith in his fundraising campaign "Under a Bridge for The Bay." Mike has been sleeping under a bridge every night since March 1st in his quest to raise $10,000 in scholarship funds so that kids, regardless of financial circumstances, can have a postive, mentoring environment in which to skate.
Treyson pretty much lives on his skateboard and Wendy and I like that he is active instead of sitting in front of the tv or playing video games. He seems to be pretty good for his age, and we've made a lot of friends through Bay198 - a local, non-profit, indoor skatepark that Mike opened in November 2010.
When the Under A Bridge For The Bay campaign began, we donated what we intended to give and solicited donations from our extended family. As the weeks wore on, however, Treyson decided that he needed to do more. He approached us with an idea: get pledges from friends and neighbors to sleep under the bridge for a night. Wendy and I discussed it and decided that he could do this under two circumstances: 1. I would join him, since we weren't about to let him sleep under a bridge by himself, and 2. he had to raise at least $200. We circled a date on the calendar, and he set about to collect pledges. He skated door-to-door in our neighborhood, created pictures for Wendy to distribute at work, and called many of our friends, colleagues, and family. When everything was said and done, he proudly presented Mike with $575!
When March 25th rolled around, we packed our sleeping bags and extra clothing and headed out to the bridge on the outskirts of town where Mike was calling "home." This night, we were joined by another young skater - Connor, his dad, his uncle, and another skater out of Columbus named Jake. The seven of us laid out our bags, Connor and Treyson shared some treats that Connor's mom had packed, and we sat up for an hour or so chatting. The only things missing were a fire, marshmallows, and a tent!
Several of my friends have asked what the experience was like:
1.  It was cold.  Temps got down to about 32 degrees (which is far warmer than some of the evenings Mike has spent under here, but still far cooler than the flannel sheets and down comforter on my bed). By 4:30 a.m., I could no longer feel my toes even though I thought I had prepared pretty well for the night.
2.  It was eerily noisy.  Every time a car would pass overhead, it sounded like thunder under the bridge. Around 3 a.m., what must have been a semi rumbled over - it sounded like an airplane was landing on top of us!
3.  It was uncomfortable.  The ground was hard and cold. There was litter all around us, and no matter what position I slept in, there was always a rock somewhere underneath me. A few times throughout the night, I awoke to find Treyson noticeably further down the embankment from where he had fallen asleep. Between pulling Treyson back up to me, trying to escape the frigid breeze, and shifting my sleeping position when my back or hips began to hurt, I was asleep for fewer than 90 minutes in any one stretch.
4.  It was humbling. Sleeping under the bridge made me reflect on the sacrifice that Mike is making for these kids. He has a home, a day job, a fledgling business, and a wonderful fiancee who no doubt would prefer that he find other ways to raise money. Yet here he is, night after night, because he made a commitment to help those who are less fortunate or who just need a safe place to go.
All in all, I'm glad we had this experience. I'm proud of Treyson for his dedication and fundraising success. I'm happy that our community has people like Mike Smith who are making a difference. I'm thrilled with the support we've received from friends and family. I'm ecstatic that I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.
Treyson asked me yesterday if we could do this again. I don't think I've ever answered "no" as quickly as I did then! But, eventually, there will be another cause we want to get behind - and if Mike has anything to do with it, I have no doubt it will be crazier and over-the-top than this one was - and I know that Treyson will again feel the need to to serve others. And I'll be there with him.
As of this writing, the Under A Bridge For The Bay campaign still has about $1,500 to go to. If you can help with even $5 or $10, you can donate through PayPal at

It is becuase of kids like this that I have slept outside for the past 27 days.

Thanks for all you have done!


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