INTERVIEW WITH OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALIST ALLISON BAVER AND HOW SHE'S HELPING CHILDREN

As soon as I read an article on three-time short track speed skater Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist Allison Baver that my business partner in Pennsylvania forwarded to me, I knew I wanted to reach out to her. 

She, like us – the creators of Harry Pierre & PeTunia Puddlesworth – believes that early education for young children to develop social behavioral, communication, and academic skills, the better chance a child will have a successful life.  And if you weave kindness and compassion with the above, they’ll have even a fuller life.    

Allison took a “hard hit” in 2009, and where many of us would not have been able to continue with our dream, she did, and credits what she learned as a child in helping her achieve her goals.   

Question: Allison, thank you so much for sharing time with us, and your dedication to children.  You truly are a champion for children’s early education.  When did you choose to be such a great voice for children, and why?

A: Thank you!  

The path to becoming a voice for children has been naturally presented to me over time as my athletic, personal & professional success grew.  I have been more than happy to share these fundamentals and offer a passionate voice for early childhood education.  

 

Q:  Harry Pierre & PeTunia say, “Like flowers, every child is special and unique, that is why gardens are beautiful every day of the week!” What advice can you give to parents regarding a healthy way of implementing sports into their child’s life? Any advice for parents whose children chooses not to play sports? Okay, the latter question may be difficult coming from an athlete! 

A:   This is a great phrase. The same concept applies healthy lifestyles for children.  Gardens need to be nourished every day to stay healthy. 

The best way to implement sports and establish a healthy foundation is to integrate active games into a consistent daily playtime routine.  Personally, I was participating in sports nearly every day as a child.  I suggest choosing toys that encourage a variety of grassroots sports and teach skills that apply in later childhood athletic development.   It’s important to go outside and play in the park, backyard, garage, etc. and do this before turning on the TV both after-school and on weekends to make this active time of the day priority and something to look forward to in your child’s life.  

Challenge your children to be leaders by starting the local kickball game, drawing the hopscotch, holding the jump rope and set up competitions and do this with other children in the community daily.  As a parent it’s also important to physically provide them the tools they need to succeed whether it be a push-up bar or ballet bar for their bedroom door, I encourage a variety.   

In my childhood, my parent gave me the opportunity to expand my imagination and offer no judgments, providing lots of love and sunshine.  That’s how gardens grow!  

This process helped to develop my confidence, critical thinking, and independence to achieve great things!

Dixie and Brad Baver encouraged me to try new activities of ALL kinds in a variety of sports, arts, music, and opened my mind and individuality to the world of possibilities that allowed me to find my strengths and talents.  I was encouraged to work hard and persevere to achieve the very best outcome and to be fearless in my efforts.  I was challenged to both succeed and fail and look at failures as setbacks to improve.  

For those children that don’t play sports, I would encourage them to find a physical activity that they enjoy and be able to discern if they are discouraged, comparing themselves to others or if there is a skill they can improve on with better practice.  If they don’t feel comfortable playing, they can always be the umpire!  However, statistics prove that if a child does not become active by the age of 9 - 11 years they are more likely to become obese in their adult life and suffer from other diseases or illness.  So, I highly encourage parents to be creative in keeping their kids active as well as introduce them to a variety of sports to inspire their imaginations. 

That is one reason why I started my foundation because many grassroots sports are not professional level sports that can teach kids skills that will help them become more well- rounded physically.  

Also, keep in mind that I couldn’t stand on ice skates when I first tried.  Being athletic and good at sports takes achieving the fundamentals and lots of practice.  

 

Q:  What do you feel is the biggest challenge for parents today? 

A: The biggest challenge for most people is a work-life balance, time constraints and the ability to have hands-on interaction due to work commitments.  Another problem is ensuring children receive a quality education due to economic constraints.  

 

Q: What would you like to see enhanced nationally in our school system for children? 

A:  A majority of schools are behind on healthy diet, PE programs, and grassroots after-school sports programs.  I’d like to see those efforts enhanced. 

 

Q:  What do you feel is your greatest strength? 

A:  According to the book and test found in Strengths Finder, my strengths are Visionary, Achiever, Competitor, and Significance.   However, I’d say my greatest strength is self-motivation. 

 

Q:  You’re quite active in a lot of areas, from foundations to being an entrepreneur, a fashion designer, could you tell us what you’re doing now and all that you’re passionate about?

 A:  Currently, I am focused on building and scaling my fashion company and endeavors in entertainment.  

Right this minute, I am on an airplane headed from a red carpetcharity gala my fashion company Allison Baver New York and Off the Ice Foundation supported in LA to Washington DC for meetings with the US Olympians & Paralympians Association of which I serve as a Vice President.   From DC, I’ll briefly visit my family and nephews for the weekend and real estate properties I own for a check-up.  Then off to NYC for meetings with my fashion team before headed back to Salt Lake City where I can’t wait to pick up my fur baby Prince, a Pomeranian, from the Puppy Lounge.  He is playing all day with his furry friends right now! 

 

Q:  Could you tell us about your foundation, OFF THE ICE, and its Core Values?

A: Sure! I’d love to do that.  

Off the Ice Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides skating sports and educational programs furthering the foundation’s vision and core value to “Achieve Great Things” in schools and communities throughout the world.  OTI was founded in 2010 by Olympic Bronze Medalist and Short Track Speed Skater, Allison Baver, and offers "GRIT Power Skating for Hockey" to ice skating facilities and Rollerblade "Skate in School" packages to gym classes, after-school programs. Recently we added mentorship programs and are very excited to build that division more as we grow! 

OTI is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by Olympic Medalist and National Champion Short Track Speed Skater, Allison Baver. OTI partnered with The Giving Back Fund for the 2010 Olympics and in 2012 became an official 501C3!

WHAT WE DO

OTI is a non-profit organization that provides skating sports and educational programs furthering the foundation’s vision and core value to “Achieve Great Things” in schools and communities throughout the world.

WHY WE ARE HERE

OTI is on the face of this planet to promote sport as the road to achieving an active lifestyle that inspires health, creates character values and instills goal development; enabling children to “achieve great things” in all they do.

OUR CORE VALUES

It’s our dedication to core values that truly distinguishes us from other non-profit organizations.  Our founder, Allison Baver, not only created these principles we are based on, but also commits herself to upholding them personally and professionally.  We use them as a guide for all foundation endeavors and people that become a part of our efforts, sharing our same values and core value to Achieve Great Things.  She has made it her mission to expand on them and bring them to the forefront of every action and inspiration the foundation aims to achieve.

ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS

As a non-profit organization, we have chosen "Achieve Great Things" as our core value, Excellence, Respect, and Friendship are the Olympic Values, and we use that as our support structure. To accomplish great things, we have identified supporting values as building blocks to do so. "Achieve Great Things" is considered our defining core value and serves as our guiding light. When followed, this simple philosophy brings athletic, academic and personal success, and that light will shine on others for all to achieve.

While many non-profit organizations do not have an organizational structure that is defined by core values, at OTI we have developed this as our culture.  By "achieving great things" and embracing our core values, we lift ourselves higher and excel in all other areas, leading by example and consistently achieving our philanthropic efforts and helping our youth one skate lace at a time.

Overview: For more information on how to get involved and donate to an organization in your community, please email info@offtheice.org. We thank you for learning more about Team OTI and appreciate any generous contributions! Feel free to donate at www.offtheice.org

 

Q:  Allison, our children of today are our future of tomorrow, and we just want to say “Thank you!” for your commitment to helping children, and a bigger thank you for joining us at The Puddlesworth Café! Maybe one day you’ll see Harry Pierre & PeTunia on ice! 

A:  Thank you!  That’s what I like to hear. Sounds like my kindafun!

                                                                   *****

Harry Pierre & PeTunia and their creators wish to thank Allison for her time, and we wish her the best of luck in all she does, and a pat on the back for helping children.  Her foundation sounds wonderful, and I hope everyone will take the time to check it out, www.offtheice.org.

Helping each other, and helping children is what makes our world go around, and until we meet again, let’s be kind to one another, help each other, and do our best to bring a smile to a child!

--Debbie Caldwell

www.harrypierre.com

 

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