Mentor Monday Profile: Aaron Shafer
Submitted by Joel Katz
Aaron Shafer is a Southern California transplant that has come to Memphis to inject his laid-back lifestyle of skateboarding as a positive physical outlet for youth in the community. He works full-time at St. Jude Children’s GMP biotech facility where he produces medicines that will be used to treat children at St. Jude. On the side Aaron is the founder of SkateLife Memphis, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting the health of Memphians as well as being an advocate for public skate parks.
Aaron believes that skateboarding is a great vehicle for kids because “skateboarders are a passionate group of people that really love what they are doing. I enjoy sharing what I love doing with the kids.” Aaron was recognized for his volunteer efforts with the Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) as the Mentor Monday honoree at the Grizzlies game December 27th.
In teaming up with MAM, Aaron has been successful in establishing a new skateboarding program and facilitated the construction of a new half-pipe for the kids to skate on. MAM has since hired a full-time and part-time staff to oversee this program and see it on into the future. Aaron stops by once or twice a week to skate with all the kids.
Joining Aaron courtside at the halftime recognition was his mentee and friend of four years, Kevin. Aaron invited Kevin to the game so he could share the experience alongside him. When asked what it was like being so close to the action, Kevin responded, “I have butterflies in my stomach, can’t feel my fingers, but I’m just really thankful that I was able to come to the game and share some of the experiences today.” His appreciation for Aaron is unquestioned, “I wouldn’t say Mr. Aaron has been a good guy, but I would say an excellent guy!”
Aaron brought his son to the game as well, but was very excited to have his friend Kevin alongside. Both Aaron and Kevin are great examples of how mentoring can not only affect the mentee’s life, but the mentor’s as well.