We got to talk to the co-founder of Paddlers for Humanity, Fred Doss, about the genesis of the organization, the inspiration for his charity, and what to expect on July 30th!
Fred Doss: “The first paddle occurred in August 2005. It stemmed from a desire to raise funds for causes and paddling was a natural focus. Ed Cashin, co-founder of Paddlers for Humanity, has paddled and taught paddling for years and he was confident that many of his fellow paddlers would be up for the challenge and for the effort to raise funds.”
What inspired you to focus your charity on mental health for children?
Fred Doss: “Paddlers for Humanity is a pass-through organization, meaning we don’t run our own programs but instead give to other nonprofits that run programs. Our mission evolved over the years to focus exclusively on programs that benefit kids (which of course also ends up benefiting family members and hopefully society at large.) Our goal has always been to have the most impact as possible and a few years ago we took the initiative to explore in detail how we could do that in an even more profound way.”
What do you think are the biggest challenges in improving the mental health system for children?
Fred Doss: “After speaking with community leaders, educators, parents and numerous others, the consensus was that there is a lack of mental health programs for kids on the East End. We are striving to fill the gap.”
What have been some of the biggest highlights from your years operating Paddlers for Humanity?
Fred Doss: “So many highlights. The paddle itself is a magical experience. To be in the middle of the ocean gives one an amazing sense of freedom. And to feel safe knowing our incredible support team is there and the camaraderie with other paddlers provides unforgettable moments. The other main highlight for me is knowing we’re making a difference for kids who wouldn’t necessarily have the resources and support that we can help provide. The wonderful organizations we provide funding to are doing great work. I am always heartened to see the incredible dedication of the people who work at the organizations – teachers, counselors, administrators, etc.”