Life was never easy for local entrepreneur Johnathan Austin. But Austin believes in giving back, and recently he officially launched his giveback programme — Johno Cares 2.
Under the programme, Johno’s Skate Shop, owned by the 19-year-old, donates five per cent of its sales to help children cover their medical bills and also to develop the sport of skateboarding in Barbados.
Johno’s Skateshop sells skateboards, roller skates and other skating accessories.
During the launch of Johno Cares 2, his father Stephen Austin said that the initiative came about partly by Johnathan’s illness
“It was one of serious challenges with his health and today I am really pleased to see that he is healthy, my daughter is healthy as well and he’s growing into a fine young man where he started his business and I’m very proud of him,” Austin said.
Addressing the audience, Jonathan said launching the project meant the world to him because of the challenges he faced.
“Johno Cares 2 means a lot to me as from the age of 11 I was suffering from an illness called Gastroparesis. The illness caused me to have to seek treatment overseas for over seven years. It was a very humbling period in my life for me and my family. It was hard to cope physically, mentally and even financially,” he said.
Johnathan admitted that what helped him through the trying period was skateboarding.
“It made me feel free and in tune with the present moment and in 2020, which was a very pivotal year in my life, I came up with the idea of starting my own skate shop as I was doing marketing and management at the Barbados Community College, and I thought it would be a great way to learn about business,” he said.
Johno Cares 2 donated to Sapphire Bamfield, who suffers with scoliosis; Raphael Hitlall, who suffers with stage 2 liver disease; and Tarryn Alleyne, who was the recipient of a donation of a skateboard programme to develop his skills.
Jonothan said that he’s excited about the future prospects and potential growth of his skateshop.
“I hope to continue to give back through Johno Cares 2 to children in need of medical assistance and to also help develop children in the skateboard community,” he added.
Johnathan also had some advice for young people.
“Remember no matter what happens to you in life, always be strong and to never give up and always help others.” (MR)