The problem I see very often is that when a kid looks for mentorship many parents or individuals are really not showing their kids on how to really give without expecting anything back. A few days ago I was able to see how my good friend and Co-Founder of Papaheroes.com Mr. Rick Lipsett does teach a few of us by leading by example.
He is the same individual who takes out of his time to create our weekly DaddyKnows cartoon which many of you get to get a laugh out every Sunday.
Rick also spends a lot of his time without receiving any economical benefit in promoting art locally and in other events where his intentions are to give back.
This past Saturday I had the privilege to observe Rick while he was running the Sole Plus table at the Converse Open Gym in San Juan.
For those of you not familiar with Sole Plus or the Open Gym let me break it down to you in my own words based on my experience in San Juan.
The Open Gym is an event created by Converse in which our youth get to play in a basketball tournament, jerseys and other equipment is provided, live DJ, free haircuts, pictures on a blue screen where it seems your posing with NBA players, and the Sole Plus area.
In the Sole Plus Area Kids and Teenagers can create a mock up of a Converse Sneaker concept. Once they finish they hand it over and compete for a 100-dollar Converse Gift Card. My favorite part is that the design and concept that wins gets created into a real sneaker by an artist and given to another child.
During the event the Sole Plus table was full and we needed more seats and tables so others could join. At moments kids and teenagers where creating art all around the table. I was able to observe the creative juices of the volunteers and participants for many hours without any breaks.
My Key Takeaways from Sole Plus
Rick over a year has taught me many things but in less than one day Rick was able to hand me a few nuggets of knowledge along an awesome experience.
Meeting Very Talented Artists
Those that know me very well understand that I am not very artistically gifted. On occasions just making the first letter of my name legible can be a challenge. For the same reason it make me appreciate art a lot more. For me it is such a huge challenge that I admire those that with a pencil, brush, crayon, or marker can create a masterpiece.
I had the opportunity to chat and exchange many ideas with Ivelisse Brignoni and Erick Carreras both who created two mock-ups of a Sneaker concept in minutes so others could have inspiration in their designs.
Erick was very hand on as Rick had described. Erick quickly created a mock up of a sneaker that many admired throughout the day. Erick came along with his 16-year-old son who also was of great help to Rick at the Sole Plus Table. I can already see Erick has done an awesome job as a parent since spending time with his son helped me perceived that.
Ivelisse was also very hands on by bringing in a few ideas which quickly transformed the Sole Plus from a designing table or area into an active gallery where those who created a mock up would be able to enjoy their creation amongst others who where at the event.
I can’t wait to have the opportunity to spend more time with Erick and Ivelisse in the near future.
How Sharing Ideas Can make a Difference
I am a big advocate for sharing ideas because everyone will execute them differently. On many occasions I saw the guidance of the artists volunteering to be the kindle that some of the participants needed to fuel their creativity. As parents we need to make sure to step in and give our kids support so they can motivate themselves in creating art and accomplishing many things.
Mixing Sports, Fashion, and Art
I truly saw the value that the Sole Plus table has for many of the participants. We all know that many of those who want to play basketball do it for fun but maybe a kid or two might find their calling in art when they decide they are just average in sports. In many occasions I see parents pushing their kids towards sports but maybe their calling is elsewhere. I remember seeing the opposite with a high school friend, his calling was for sports but his dad wanted him to be an Architect. The problem was that by not supporting his Son in what he had passion for he entered college to study architecture and did not last a semester. He later struggled with school and I am not sure if he ever finished the other degree he went for.
By giving our children many options so they can try and choose in what they are interested in gives them a better opportunity to be passionate about what they are doing.
Overall they few hours I spend at @soleplus where very gratifying and I can’t wait till the next one where I have a few more ideas to enhance the overall experience.
It would also be great to know if you are an artist who can help out at the next Sole Plus or the Sole Plus near you feel free to contact us. I am sure they are always looking for awesome volunteers to help inspire creativity in our youth.