DURANGO, C.O. (KRQE) – Cold mornings, bandaged toes, and a helping of beef jerky. That’s how skateboarder, Jeffrey Markman has started many of his mornings over the past 11 days.
I’ve been making it 30 to 50 miles a day, my feet really hurt.Jeff Markman
Markman is on a 753-mile mission to skateboard from Durango, Colorado to Long Beach, California, a feat he expects to finish by the end of October. It’s all to raise awareness for a GoFundMe campaign started by Markman and his best friend, Timothy Schaefer, called Boards for Brazil, which is raising money to send skateboards to an orphanage in Fortaleza, Brazil.
The skateboarder in general is the kind of person that does not give up. They keep going and going and going and trying and trying until they reach the goal.Jeff Markman
Markman says the idea for the project all began when Schaefer took a volunteer trip to Brazil and noticed a lack of proper equipment at the skate parks he visited. After interacting with the locals, Schaefer learned the country is also home to an estimated 3.7 million orphans, many of whom have no access to transportation.
After recognizing the need, Schaefer took his passion for skateboarding and his heart for service to Markman. Together, the pair created Boards for Brazil. Their initial goal was to raise $3,000 or enough to send 50 skateboards from The Boarding Haus in Durango, all the way to Fortaleza. Their account has since surpassed their goal, but both men agree, the more boards they can send to Fortaleza, the better.
We’ve reached our money goal but we don’t want to stop now.Timothy Schaefer
Markman says he knew the best way to understand the lack of transportation children are dealing with in Brazil was to experience it for himself. So, he decided to raise awareness for the campaign by skateboarding 753 miles from his current home in Durango, to his former stomping ground in Long Beach.
He left at dawn on October 1 and began skating across the Southwest to his destination. On the first leg of his journey, Markman stopped in Aztec, Farmington, Shiprock, and Gallup, New Mexico. He then went on to travel through Arizona, and will eventually finish his journey in sunny California. You can view a map of his projected journey here.
When asked why he and Schaefer are doing all this work for kids thousands of miles away, Markman said it’s not about picking and choosing who needs the most help. Instead, the mission of Boards for Brazil is about recognizing a need, having a connection to that need, and finding a way to fulfill it.
Both Markman and Schaefer say skateboarding has provided a creative outlet, a sense of community, and the confidence needed to get through life. They hope by giving the gift of skateboarding, they’ll change lives.