b'giving backas a w a y o f l i f eMany of us go through our daily lives working 9-5 jobs, raising families, and maybe sneaking in a couple of hours to give back to our communities; if we have the time of course. Yet, for a guy like Danny Hairston, giving back isnt a concept; its a way of life.Danny is the Founder and Executive Director of a non-profit youth organization called SHRED Foundation.SHRED was started in 2014 as a way to not only provide opportunity to at-risk youth in the Hudson Valley Region by using snowboarding to teach life skills, persistence, and perseverance, but also as a career path into snow sports industry positions. When asked about why he developed SHRED, Danny said, The smaller cities dont have programs like this that expose kids to the mountains. Having grown up with adverse childhood experiences, the key to overcoming them was to create resiliency and thats inherent when youre learning how to snowboard.Danny brings his fifteen year background to the table, working for youth development organizations such as Burtons Chill Foundation, STOKED Mentoring and others in the NYC area. Perhaps most importantly, he functions as leader and mentor for the kids in the program.Every Sunday for six weeks a season, Windham hosts the SHREDFoundation crew of 50 to 60 kids and volunteers. Lift tickets aredonated each week as well as equipment whenever needed. I asked Danny what the most rewarding aspect of his involvement is and he quickly said, Its building those memories and relationships. Our kids all feel like Windham is their home.The most unique aspect to SHRED is their holistic approach, where they not only expose the kids to the sport and immerse them inthe culture of snowboarding, but also provide the life skills necessary to move on and become successful adults. The Junior Instructor Programat Windham has already resulted in SHRED kids being hired to work at themountain after they gain certification. After five years, its at the point where graduates are teaching new enrollees!Danny went on to say, The partnership that has been created with Windham allows us to provide opportunity for segments of the population that historically havent been able to take advantage of the lifestyle the mountain and the resort offers. If Windham can do that, then I dont see why any other mountain cant. Windham is setting the examplethe blueprintto create and open up this equity that the snow sports industry is finally looking at.At the conclusion of our conversation, I asked Danny how he would sum up SHRED. His response, Using the thing you love, to create the life you want to live. If you are feeling inspired and want to help Danny in his mission, visitwww.shredfoundation.org where you can buy SHRED gear, make a donation,and follow them on social media. - Tim McCann22 above & beyondwinter 2020-2021'