Kevin Cody

Skechers Walk tops $2 millionfor special ed kids and schools

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Celebrating a $577,175 check presentation to the Friendship Foundation are Skechers development director Anne Kelly, Friendship administrator Michelle Manzano, Skechers executive director Robin Curren, Skechers recruiter Danielle Jones, Friendship director Nina Patel, Friendship director Elyse Ares, Friendship program manager John Zimniski, Skechers CEO Michael Greenberg and Friendship executive director Rabbi Yossi Mintz. Photo courtesy of Skechers

Joining the Skechers Walk check presentation at Shade Manhattan Beach last Thursday were Manhattan Beach Parks  Recreation’s Mark Leyman, and JoJo Cortez, Manhattan City Manager Bruce Moe, Parks and Recreation Supervisor Stephanie Kou, and Manhattan councilmembers Richard Montgomery, David Lesser, and Steve Napolitano. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

“Thank God, Rabbi Yossi Mintz made a mistake after arriving at LAX from New York. He turned south and settled in the South Bay instead of going north, to the Valley,” Skechers CEO Michael Greenberg told guests last Thursday during the 10th Annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk check presentations at Shade Manhattan Beach.

Shortly after arriving in the South Bay Beach Rabbi Mintz met Greenberg and convinced him to support the Friendship Foundation, which today matches over 1,800 developmentally disabled, South Bay students with fellow classmates.

The Friendship Foundation work reminded Greenberg of the high school experience he had after one of his family’s moves. Finding himself without friends, he volunteered to escort students with special needs to their classes at his high school.

The first Skechers Walk Friendship Walk, in 2009, drew 1,200 walkers and raised $220,000. Last October’s 10th-anniversary walk drew 14,000 walkers and raised $2 million.

Thursday evening, Rabbi Mintz accepted a $577,175 check made out to the Friendship Foundation. Another $1 million was distributed among the El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, and Torrance education foundations.

“Thanks to this walk, special needs students don’t sit alone at lunch. They don’t get bullied,” Rabbi Mintz told guests.

Over the past decade, an estimated 77,000 walkers have helped raise $11 million for the Friendship Foundation and local schools.

The Skechers Walk also funds Skechers Foundation college scholarships.

Following the check presentations, Greenberg announced plans for a new fundraiser, scheduled for next April, for maintenance of the Manhattan Beach Pier Roundhouse Aquarium.

Skechers was instrumental in a $4 million renovation of the aquarium, completed last November.

“The Roundhouse is exposed to a marine environment,” Greenberg said in explaining the need for maintenance funds.

For more about the friendship walk, visit skechersfriendshipwalk.com.

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