a tale of 2 sneaker heads
To understand this story, you have to go back to Salt Lake City in the 1990’s where two kids who grew up from different neighborhoods across the Wasatch Valley would cross paths. They grew up with a similar instinctive entrepreneurial spirit, robust work ethic, love for family, and deeply rooted obsession for a dope pair of kicks. At this time, the sneaker culture was well alive and thriving in the pinnacle era of iconic basketball player Michael Jordan and his high-profile shoes. Legendary music moguls were changing the Hip-Hop game forever. Vans, the innovative skate brand, would be impacting skateboarding and street apparel indefinitely.
Fast forward to 2019, Lefty and Michael would cross paths for the first time at a mutual friend’s launch party of Ogden’s newest brewery. Lefty complimented Michael on his J’s and as the conversion developed, the two quickly learned they were both business owners, Family Men (girl dads!), proud of their neighborhoods, proud of their upbringing, loyal Utah Jazz fans, and of course–passionate about the sneaker culture! Unbeknownst to them, a lifelong friendship was formed that night.
The other 2 Partners are Ross McGarvey and Chef Tyler Stokes. Ross is a best friend of Michael’s, a proven Marketer, and founder of Avant8 a leading Advertising Agency in the state. He is a father to 2 sons, a Scottish immigrant, and a lover of fresh kicks. Chef Tyler Stokes is an award-winning, published Chef, and accomplished restaurateur with over 28+ years of restaurant experience. He is the sole owner of the adored American Craft Kitchen, Provisions; and a co-founder with Michael at Sunday’s Best. He’s a proud father of 6 and a fanatic of fresh sneaks.
standing taller together
There are some things in life that are out of our control. No matter how hard we try to control it, they just are. And it can feel like the hardships and tests are never ending. Nevertheless, there are kids who refuse to give in when times get tough. They collect themselves, adapt, and move forward. They create an opportunity when it can feel like there isn’t one.
Lefty and Michael are testament to this. They didn’t have the same resources their peers did. But they are living proof of what can happen when one remains focused, disciplined, and blocks out the noise. A result of what can happen when one refuses to give up on themself.
We may not all have the same opportunities and that’s one driving force behind Kicks It Forward. We’re here to inspire , build confidence, and help kids stand a little bit taller with a fresh pair of kicks! The Founders can attest to the undeniable impact a brand new pair of shoes can influence a kid. They are more than pieces of fabric, like us, they all have a story to tell. They are a symbol of culture, empowerment, and pride. Fundamentally, they wanted to find a way to give back, inspire upcoming generations, and hug the hood.
lacing up for success
There are many talented kids in our neighborhoods who are doing good and we need your help finding them so we can Kick It Forward and reward them with a fresh pair of kicks.
finding today’s heroes
We built Kicks It Forward to recognize and empower those kids in our neighborhood who are showing up, giving back selflessly, and making a difference. We know some but we need your help in finding more.
If you know a kid in your community who is:
- in Jr High or High School
- a leader among their peers
- doing good
- helping out at home
- family oriented
- someone who goes the extra mile
- someone who fights through adversity
- one who believes in themselves
- simply making this world a better place than it was yesterday
We want to hear about them. Nominate them today!
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