SkateMD Healing Hearts

Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

SkateMD is an all-volunteer, Northern California based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Melanie Tillotson (the "M") and Andrea "Drea" Bibelheimer (the "D"). Inspired by each other's personal passions and contributions to at-risk and special needs children, Melanie and Drea joined forces as "partners in kind" with a mission to heal hearts by spreading kindness and skateboarding to special populations of children facing developmental, physical, emotional, or family challenges. The SkateMD program was created in 2014 as our heartfelt response to a viral video of a hate crime against a teenage boy with Autism. As members of skateboarding families and strong advocates of kindness, Melanie and Drea set out to empower children with exercise, positive interactions, and fun while increasing tolerance, compassion, and support within the community.

Partnering from the onset with board members Heather Barclay and Erik Nielsen who share the same enthusiasm, we have been able to provide one-on-one skateboard clinics in an accepting environment for children ages 5-17 to experiment with skateboarding, to fine-tune existing skateboarding skills, or to just have fun. In 2018, we expanded our board of directors to include Patrick Guild and we continue to recruit board committee members in order to increase our capacity as an organization.

Our program is proud to pay special attention to the individual needs of our participants. Participant coordination is facilitated by our valued board member, Erik Nielsen (PT, DPT, PCS), a board-certified clinical specialist; additional volunteer therapists are recruited for our clinics to support both volunteers and children. Each clinic also hosts approximately 70 amazing volunteers, 50-60 who are local area skateboarders.


We serve children who may not otherwise be able to pursue skateboarding, don't have easy access to skateboard equipment or facilities, and/or those who just need some extra kindness in their lives. Depending on the clinic, we may prioritize children with special needs, foster youth, or other at-risk children.


SkateMD is operated by a Board of Directors made up of four volunteers that all have full time jobs in addition to serving with SkateMD. We receive a lot of donations for things like food and coffee for volunteers at clinics, product or raffle off and give away to volunteers, and skateboard and pads for the kids who come skate. We sell merchandise at the clinics, and all proceeds go to replenishing merchandise and into the program.

In order to ensure we're able to provide those amenities to the kids, volunteers, parents, and volunteer staff, we are looking for unrestricted funds. In addition to the program needs outlined above, unrestricted funds would go towards travel costs, design updates for website and marketing assets, program costs, and board development.

Since we are an entirely volunteer-run organization, we are always looking for committed volunteers and community advocates.

We do not currently have multiple openings on the Board proper, but we do have open seats on the following committees:

- Communications/Marketing

- Finance Committee

- Programming Committee

All of the above-mentioned needs are truly paramount. The funds donated to us throughout the year are the only way that we are able to continue providing programming for volunteers and clinic attendees.

Equity Statement

Organization Data


Organization name

SkateMD Healing Hearts

other names


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category

Human Services

Operating Budget


Organization Need

Funding: Unrestricted, Board Members

Demographics Served

Individuals with disabilities, Youth & Children, General population

Counties Served

Placer, Sacramento, Yolo


1870 Valley Vista Lane
Auburn, CA 95691

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

Auburn, CA, US

Rancho Cordova, CA, US

West Sacramento, CA, US

Napa, CA, US



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