The Gift of a Gi Is More Than Just a Uniform

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


Find out about the programs at Jammin BJJ here

More on the Carly Foundation here

Read about Elena’s book here

Read more about Satu’s story here

Carlson Gracie OC


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