Five year old donates his too small gi and receives an new one thanks to the Give a Gift of a Gi Program.
Nicholas father died when he was just 18 months old. Nicholas’ mother Satu Immermann was widowed three years ago when her husband had a heart attack while in the backyard playing with the kids. This left Satu to raise three small children on her own.
Jammin' BJJ is a branch of the non-profit organization The Carly Stowell Foundation (CSF). The CSF provides enhanced education in sports and music to young people who demonstrate passion for learning and a commitment to excel. The Give the Gift of a Gi program is part of the organization that takes donated gis and repurposes them. Most gis are given to children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. Some of the badly tattered gis are sewn into gi bags and a few, the worst of the worst, are sold in bulk as raw cotton to help cover the cost of shipping.
Elena Stowell is the founder of the Jammin BJJ Foundation. She was moved to create the foundation after the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter, the subsequent depression and finding Jiu-Jitsu to help cope with the loss. “Passion”, states Elena. Elena has written book ‘FLOWING WITH THE GO: A Jiu-Jitsu Journey Of The Soul’ about her journey to her blue belt and her path to acceptance of the loss of her daughter.
Nicholas, the 18-month-old, is now 5 and in kindergarten. He has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for two years through a neighborhood program. The class is taught by Professor Kris Shaw who is black belt under Tinguinha and a mother of four young girls. The class is held at Carlson Gracie OC even though Kris has no affiliation there. Troy Acker, the academy owner and black belt under Franco De Camargo, rents the space at a reduced rate so the class can take place.
In the months before Satu’s husband died, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. When her husband passed, it left the family financially struggling. Despite a long, drawn out foreclosure and eventual short sale, Satu and the children are doing ok.
Nicholas quickly out grew his M0000. It was a hand-me-down and never quite fit him anyway. The Jammin BJJ Foundation heard about his family and his willingness to learn, listen and train and found him a new M00 with lots of growing room. Best part is that he traded in his M0000 and now another deserving (little) kid gets to train.
Nicholas’ new gi was donated by Marcelo Alonso’s team and has a Marcelo Alonso patch on it. It’s an interesting turn of events because Marcelo, Troy, and Franco are all part of the Carlson Gracie Team and classes are held at a Carlson Gracie academy. (Carlson Gracie OC)
If you would like to donate an old gi or organize a kid’s seminar please contact Elena Stowell at the Carly Stowell / Jammin' BJJ Foundation 16915 272nd St SE Suite 100 Box 101 Covington, WA 98042
This article provided by our guest writer Tyy Withrow. Tyy runs his own blog called BJJ Paperweight. We look forward to working with Tyy more, be sure to keep your eyes out for some more articles by him! Welcome aboard Tyy!!!
It’s been a couple of crazy weeks for me and I’m finally able to sit down and talk about a seminar I was able to help out with. The “Give the Gift of a Gi – BJJ Seminars for Kids” kick-off seminar was a huge success. It was held on October 26th at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Kent, Washington. Quite a few Black Belts shared their expertise; Kris Shaw, Cindy Hales, Michelle Wagner, James Foster, and Jean Freitas. There were three different seminars for three different age groups. With this grouping model each seminar ended up being the perfect size. In total there were about 55-60 kids, which is a great turn out. Of those kids, I would guess about 10 had never tried Jiu-Jitsu including my two little nephews. The seminar they attended was their first day of Jiu-Jitsu. I credit the quality of the seminar with the fact that they both enrolled to train the next week. Yes, I’m a proud uncle.
Elena Stowell wrote Flowing with the Go available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. With thanks to her publisher I was able to obtain an advance copy. I was moved by her story, impressed by her writing and awed by her struggle. After reading her book, I asked Elena for an interview. Here’s a few things she shared with BJJ Legends.
What have you been doing since you wrote the last page? Specifically are there any more stripes or tournaments? Have you competed as a blue belt?
I have gotten a stripe on my blue belt ... and I competed once in our local Revolution tournament. I backed off for a while because my 5 months preparing for Worlds was intense and took a lot of time away from my family... and like I said in the book ...I sort of thought maybe not again. What I had subconsciously decided was that I just didn't want to compete again until I went down a weight class. I was 190 when I competed at Worlds ... smallish for the heavyweights it seemed, (to me) but getting to 162 seemed daunting.
Of course, once you write a book about achievement your coach will say, "I believe there is nothing you can't do." From my heaviest depression-fatitude I've lost 35 pounds... about 10 more to go until the next weight class. I have US Open in my sights now that I've been told there is a master's category for women and my Brazilian buddy Jean (Jean Carlos Freitas) was coaching me on training to compete vs. training to learn new skills. I don't think I ever appreciated the difference. But he's back in Brazil ... I have to practice what he's taught me.
I enjoyed the book. When it ended, I missed her dialog, her gym and her training partners. Ms Stowell can write. She beautifully wove together the two worlds, one of loss and grieving and the other of a white belt in an alien land. Her BJJ angle is solid. She's no BJJ interloper. I read, worried I would finish the book without knowing any of the mentioned black belts. (Seven Degrees?) Happily, she gives a nod to OC's Giva "The Arm Collector" Santana. Her story has commonalities with many of the people whom I've been lucky enough to know and train with. I want to hand this book out to everybody.