For his 18th birthday, Shamod Banks decided to start “pushing for a purpose.”
It’s the tagline for what is set to be iPUSH, a skateboard apparel store launching May 19 that is Banks’ attempt at a social venture combining his love of skateboarding with giving back to two specific causes he’s passionate about: cancer research and autism awareness.
Banks’ birthday was May 2 and the launch party taking place tomorrow in Port Richmond is a gift from his mother Joyce Moore to help kickstart his efforts. A “great portion of the proceeds” will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philly-based Center for Autism, Moore said in an email.
When he was young, Banks lost his father to cancer, and he also has an autistic brother, hence the focus of iPUSH to benefit these two causes. It was through skateboarding that Banks was able to find a way to deal with the loss of his father, and just as skateboarders push off the ground to propel themselves, starting this company is a big step in how he now “pushes to become the best version of himself,” Moore said.
But Banks was also inspired from local role models in his life.
“We are just trying to do something bigger than ourselves,” said Moore, who is a health information clerk at the community health nonprofit Philadelphia FIGHT. “Shamod has been mentored by an amazing officer from the PAL [Police Athletic League] and has been surrounded by men who do honorable things for the community and he wanted to follow their lead.”
As of right now, there’s no physical storefront for iPUSH. Those interested can get in touch through email or social media to buy a piece of apparel, which is designed by local artist Tayoin Burwell; the venture is currently being funded by Moore. Future partnerships with CHOP and the Center for Autism would include volunteering time and providing children with gift baskets.