Venuelabs’ team is active in the community on a number of fronts, but perhaps the most active member of the team, Sam Levenson, volunteers on a weekly basis, mostly with events related to helping disadvantaged kids. Sam currently serves as a certified coach for the Special Olympics basketball team and is a board member for Life Enrichment Options (LEO), a community based non-profit organization that advocates and works to support children with developmental disabilities.
One of LEO’s signature events is the Challenge Race Series, which according to LEO, “allows those with disabilities who are 5′-2″ or under and 130 pounds or less, a chance to experience the thrill of a soap box derby-type race while riding in a car piloted by a typically developing driver.”
The series recently hosted an event in Issaquah, Wash., where Venuelabs’ CEO Neil Crist’s son Carson participated as a driver for the soap box derby thanks to an invite from Levenson.
“This LEO event enables kids who might not otherwise get the opportunity to have a moment in the spotlight,” said Crist. “I’m proud that my son participated, and I think he is too, as it has given him a different view of kids who struggle with disabilities. On a community level, it is events like this one by LEO that really brings us together and keeps our community tight, because at the end of the day we are supporting families and kids in our community who really need help, be that in the form of entertainment or educational support.”
The LEO Challenge Race Series, which is sponsored in part by Fred Meyer, continues August 10 in Sammamish, August 24 in Oak Harbor, and concludes September 28 in Snoqualmie. Levenson says that his participation in LEO, “allows him to provide a big brother presence to kids who really need that type of influence in their lives. It truly takes a community to raise a child.”
“As a kid myself I was involved with my family helping others in need,” he continued. “So volunteering became a way of life, just like going to school or playing sports.”
In addition to working with LEO and Special Olympics, Levenson also participates in a number of fitness-related events that support worthy causes. He recently signed on to be part of the 2013 Bike MS Washington 100+ mile bicycle ride, which takes place September 7 and 8. Levenson is riding with Venuelabs team member and data analyst Dylan Faherty as part of a larger team called, Crankin’ For a Cure. This is Levenson’s first foray into Bike MS, a result of an invite from Faherty, who has ridden in this event three times and has helped his team raise over $30,000 in that time.
“MS is a crippling disease,” said Levenson. “And as I’ve learned from my team, the rates of MS are higher in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, our team ‘mom’, Nancy, has MS and is partly responsible for my participation. Dylan and other members of the team have seen first-hand the results of what better research and funding can do in terms of benefitting a patient fighting MS. I wanted to be part of that.”
To date, Crankin’ For a Cure has raised over $5,800 with a goal of raising $10,000. If you would like to make a donation, please click on the above link to visit the team’s page.
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