The building business has been very good to Ryan Barlow.
Barlow founded his company RBKS Construction with partner Kerry Shanks in 2006.
Since then they’ve become masters at all types of projects.
“We build anything from infill housing to restaurants, light industrial and anything in between,” says Barlow. “It’s neat to have those opportunities.” He adds.
Working in construction, Barlow meets with people from all walks of life and he often sees “the effects of adults not having the support growing up.”
“You can tell that there’s some hurt there and they didn’t have the opportunity to be kids when they needed to be kids,” he says.
Barlow believes that giving kids a chance to be kids and providing them a sense of community impacts not only the child, but all of us.
“Having a positive experience in a tough situation can really change how a city develops,” says Barlow. “If you feel like you’re part of something at a community level…it can be the medicine,” he says. And that’s why he started sponsoring Free Footie teams back in 2014.
“I heard about it through the charity Win4Skin,” he recalls. “The founder, (Tim Adams), came and really gave a really intense speech and it just hit me seeing these kids come after some of them had some terrible stories.”
“If playing soccer makes them that much happier and maybe have a positive impact on their life. It's a no brainer. I have to do it," he finishes.
Hurt children often become hurt adults and for Barlow, having kids heal at an early age is important. “When that 8 or 10-year-old turns 20 or 28 they’re probably doing some things that are hurting themselves and maybe others. By stopping this here and maybe trying to heal a little bit, I think it just has a good impact,” says Barlow. “If it can just begin with soccer? What a great medicine.”
Written by: Christina Thompson