OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Rollin' From the Heart is a nonprofit founded by John Barry, his wife Allison and their daughter Kiva.
The organization's mission is to provide mentorships for at-risk youth by encouraging a more healthy, active and positive lifestyle.
“(We) thought, 'Wow, this would be wonderful if we could start an organization where we could provide opportunities to skate and surf and get outdoors in neighborhoods in areas throughout Sand Diego where they wouldn’t have those opportunities and use skateboarding as a tool to mentor these kids,'” said John.
It’s a vision that is rooted in love and heartbreak. The Barrys lost their son, Ian, at 22 years old. One of Ian’s greatest passions was skateboarding.
“After his passing, I was trying to figure out what to do with my grief and not travel down that rabbit hole of grief and self pity,” said John.
John saw how the sport had given his son a community and a purpose.
“We felt like there was something worth continuing. And that something worth continuing was trying to instill those attributes in society more: kindness, compassion, acceptance, tolerance,” said John.
The Barry’s have been rollin’ from the heart for eight years. They run after school programs throughout the week at places like North County Lifeline. They serve thousands of youth, give away hundreds of skateboards and thousands of pairs of shoes, donating scholarships, along with sending kids to summer camp.
But what isn’t so tangible is the joy, confidence and life skills they bring to kids. Skateboarding is an activity that teaches patience, perseverance and provides proof that hard work really does pay off.
“We’re just trying to spread Ian’s love and compassion and kindness, that’s what it’s all about,” said John.
Through their loss, the Barrys have kept rollin’ from the heart to spread joy and love.
If you're interested in volunteering or contributing to the Barrys' cause, visit rollinfromtheheart.org.