Michael Ien Cohen was working in the hotel business 25 years ago when he read a news story about a man named Henri Landwirth. It changed his life.
Henri, Give Kids The World’s founder, was a Holocaust survivor and US veteran. He spent much of his childhood imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps, yet he refused to let despair and hate define him. Instead Henri dedicated his life to helping critically ill children reclaim their childhood.
“I hung the article above my desk, where it remains to this very day” said Michael. “Henri’s life was incredible in terms of what he had been through and what came out of it; how much light and hope and happiness can come from such darkness.”
From that moment on, Henri’s story drove Michael to make philanthropy a part of his life.
He’s creating Humanity Stoked, a non-profit documentary highlighting the philanthropic efforts of some of the leaders in skateboarding, surfing, science and the arts to inspire people to seek a fulfilling, authentic, and charitable life.
Last month, Michael and his Humanity Stoked team, including professional skateboarders and wheelchair motocross riders, came to the Village to host a skate clinic for visiting wish kids.
The clinic brought together wish children of all abilities to try new skills as they learned to skate from the pros themselves.
“My kids aren’t talking about the theme parks,” one wish mom wrote in a message following her trip. “They’re talking about skateboarding…we can’t thank you enough.”
Thanks to Michael and the cast and crew of Humanity Stoked, our wish families got to enjoy a truly unique experience.
“From the day I read about Henri, 25 years ago, it’s been a dream to work with the children of the Village. It’s an incredible honor for me to bring this team together to serve these kids,” said Michael. “It’s making a connection that’s mutually beneficial, we all left there feeling inspired.”