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.