What are you working on now?

Craig: So one of the projects that you’ve worked on recently with Jesse Danger was to go and work on the … I’m going to call it the “water project” because I want to let you explain it a little bit.

Max: Okay.

Craig: So just give me the brief [00:10:00] version of what you did and why you went to Africa and why you were there.

Max: Okay, yeah. I’ve been working a lot with Know Obstacles, the Parkour clothing company for the past year and a half or so. And this is something that … So those of you who don’t know, Francis Lyons is the one that runs KO. Really amazing person, he’s the one that kind of initiated this whole project. He had been to Africa working with a water and sanitation kind of non-profit three years ago. And it [00:10:30] was something that really effected him. And Francis and I had talked for maybe the past two years about using Parkour in some way to benefit other people. And the first thing that we realized we could do with this project is that we could basically use Parkour as a flashy thing to get kids interested in raising money. So we went to a couple schools in the north east. Brought, you know, our gear from … With the Movement Creative…

Craig: Yeah, set up, right?

Max: Set up and we ran these little classes and some events. Brought some Ninja Warrior people. And these kids were like, “Wow, this [00:11:00] is so cool There’s all these amazing athletes that are passionate about water and sanitation improvement in developing countries. Let’s help them raise money.” And the teachers loved it because it’s math and science and phys-ed. [crosstalk 00:11:12]

Craig: There’s only six reasons why the would love that. Kids are interested? One!

Max: Yeah. So that was the initial thing and then basically the company, the non-profit that was helping us, organized where the money was going and found schools that were suitable to send the money over. You know, where it would do the most good. That [00:11:30] non-profit basically said, “We would like to send you to Africa to work with some of these schools that you’ve been helping. Teach Parkour there. Have that first-hand experience that you can be a more powerful ambassador when you come back to the US and keep working with these other schools.” So we went out there and we coached at five schools, which was an amazing, mind blowing, really cool experience because it was so similar to coaching in the US, while also drastically different in a handful of ways. But you really do get that whole, “Wow. Everybody’s [00:12:00] the same. And everybody likes Parkour.”

Craig: One of the things we were discussing earlier had to do with how Parkour is maturing. And we went off on a long discussion about climbing. But in this particular context, it seems to me that you need more than the money that you could raise through smaller outreach demonstrations and things. So was the project also funded with actual … ‘Cause as soon as you say non-profit, then corporations are like, “Here’s a cheque.”

Max: Yeah, so actually the way that we did it was that all the money that was raised by these schools was matched [00:12:30] by a large corporation, corporate donor.

Craig: Okay.

Max: So they agreed to match any donation. So I think that we got a few thousand dollars from one schools, and then this donor agreed to match that. And then that ends up being enough now instead of being able to supply new water infrastructure for a pre-K [crosstalk 00:12:50], you can now go and do two or three schools with that same amount.

We went to one school, Charles Dune Elementary School. And they originally had … I think it was [00:13:00] 400 students that they had. They had one water source that they used for making the lunches, everything. Washing hands, et cetera, et cetera. The sanitation was non-existent. And that was a school that Francis visited three years ago when they had started putting the infrastructure in. We went back. They have now bathrooms that were as clean as any in an American middle school or elementary school. They had a great lunch program. They had a chess team because they weren’t worried about water and sanitation. They were able to buy computers. So they have kids [00:13:30] that are learning international business so they can compete in a global market. And these are the same kids that meanwhile, they go home … And their homes still have no electricity. No running water, no sanitation, no plumbing, no trash pick up. They just leave their trash wherever they can because there’s no services.

Craig: Right, there’s no infrastructure for that. [crosstalk 00:13:51]

Max: And so these kids now have a school that’s kind of a safe-haven for them, where they can go. They have a community that’s supporting them, inspiring them to [00:14:00] become better forces for good in their community. And once we saw that, it’s like … Who really … As long it’s not drug money. Where’s this money coming from? Obviously you want to question it a little bit, but at the same time, when you see where … How much good it’s able to do in the right hands, and that’s what the non-profit that we were working with was making sure that it was going to schools that were … There’s no corruption, and that the money [crosstalk 00:14:26]

Craig: Money would actually be used for the infrastructure that was going to be for.

Max: Exactly. And so seeing that [00:14:30] was just so powerful that it kind of put me in that place of like .. Wow, I’m speaking from a place of privilege saying, “Let me question where this money is coming from.” Like I have the ability to do that.