Ryan Sheckler's Charity Tournament Winner Gives Cash Prize to Hurricane Victims


The Sheckler Foundation was founded in 2008 by pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and his family to benefit their community, youth with serious illness and injured action sports athletes. The Find Your Grind Foundation proudly sponsored Sheckler’s 2017 Helicopter Golf Ball Drop at their 10th Annual Charity Golf Tournament. We had the opportunity to talk with this year’s winner, Sara Allen, who is giving 100 percent of her cash prize back to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Allen is the proud small business owner of the Zebra House Coffee shop in San Clemente, California. Owning Zebra House Coffee, she says, is one of those examples of how the world works in mysterious ways. Growing up in Southeast Alaska, she worked in restaurants, and her father roasted coffee on their picturesque patio grill overlooking the ocean. Later, when he retired, Allen’s father started professionally roasting coffee and opened a full-service coffee shop.

Allen’s upbringing and education prepared her for small business ownership. She went to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and studied food & beverages and finance. Finance was to pay the bills, but “Food & Bev” was the ultimate goal. She became very involved in her parents’ business, from helping with organic certification to working with wholesale accounts.

When she and her husband, Curtis Peterson, learned the Zebra House Coffee shop was for sale, it was a no-brainer. They sold their home, bought the shop and are now “proud ‘parents’ to 20 awesome employees!” She still gets to work with her dad every day too, which is a dream for a self-proclaimed daddy’s girl.

What made you attend the Sheckler Foundation event?

Ryan Sheckler is a regular at Zebra House, and we see him at least once a day when he’s in town. He never leaves without at least two large coffees and sometimes also several bags of our whole beans. His mother, Gretchen, also comes in often for our house-baked muffins! Ryan asked if we would be interested in supporting the event. I don’t think he had finished his sentence before I said, “Absolutely, yes, we are in!” It was the biggest event that we’ve ever supported, and we had a ton of fun putting all the details together, including getting our neighbors in Southwest San Clemente, Sanchos Tacos, involved to donate breakfast burritos for the California Breakfast.

From a philanthropy standpoint, Zebra House and our whole crew are very involved across San Clemente. We love the mission of the Sheckler Foundation and believe in their philosophy that each person can make a difference by making a change. Zebra House has given us an outlet to play a bigger role in things we believe in. We hope we get invited to participate again next year!

Talk about the moment when you won the Helicopter Ball Drop!

We purchased two balls at the last minute, really just to show support for Hurricane Harvey victims, not expecting to win. My husband’s family all lives in Florida and was impacted by Irma, so the weekend turned very intense for us, and the ball drop took on additional meaning we weren’t expecting. The day of the event, we lost touch with family as power went down and the eye of the storm passed over my husband’s parents’, grandparents’ and sisters’ homes. The event [forced us] to get out of the house, away from the TV and to have a positive day.

We had a great view of the ball drop from our tent and enjoyed watching the helicopter since it was so close. That was really the focus until I saw Ryan and the whole team running up the hill at us. I was thinking, “Why is he running right at us?!” He shouted out that we had won, and I couldn’t believe it. I think it’s the first time since I was eight years old that I won anything, so I was jumping up and down, and so was our crew!

How do you plan to use the money you won?

As soon as all the pictures were done, it hit me that we had just won $5,000! Without thinking, I turned back to Ryan and told him we wanted to give it all away. He grabbed his mom, she started crying, and I almost did too. Once we got home, we heard from our families that they were OK. What a world! I really do believe we are all connected.

Learn more about The Sheckler Foundation here.

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