Peach’s Neet Feet is not your ordinary non-profit set on changing the world. It’s the “more” this world needs that actually can. Shattering the myth of perfection and encouraging people and communities nationwide to intentionally live a kinder and more impactful life.
Based in New Mexico by founder Madison “Peach” Steiner and operating out of The Mad Lab, Peach’s Neet feet is made up of artists and souls who donate their time, talent and heart to children living with life-threatening illnesses and chronic disabilities through the purest form of kindness; celebrating children as they are. Gifted with artistic ability, they hand-paint custom Converse and Vans shoes to each child’s imagination, immersing themselves in each individual story. They reach out to families facing some of the hardest things life has to offer and show them they are not alone. And that childhood is something that should never be stolen. They invest in every braveheart sent their way while leading by tremendous example how to be a little kinder, love a little harder and live to make positive waves.
There is something invaluable that sets Peach’s Neet Feet apart, and that is its ability to accomplish its mission through genuine and transparent authenticity; it lives and breathes its mantra to Hustle Kindness in the many ways it gives. The energy and drive to make the world a better place to inhabit is palpable as they exude one simple, powerful message: Accept and celebrate who you are so that you can accept and celebrate others.
My son Kaj is one of those children, and ours is one of their stories.
Kaj is 6 years old. He’s a wild animal we call Bear who has an intense love of life, surprise hugs and all things super heroes, but has also survived great trauma at a very young age.
In March of 2012, when he was seven months old, Kaj was in a fire in which his tiny body sustained burns to 60% of it, 30% of which were beyond his skin’s ability for natural repair. He was not expected to survive the first 72 hours and our universe came to a violent stop.
Everything collapsed. Everything we’d known the day before was gone, and suddenly there was only NOW. NOW time mattered, as suddenly we took life by the minute. Then, by the hour. Then the day… Until 5 years later, with surgical procedures numbering 39 to date, he is a warrior child built for battle. And still we live by the day, but now by choice.
When Madison Steiner came into my life, it was at a time of extreme delicacy; a pivotal time between his accident and initial recovery where I had lost a chunk of who I was and was in desperate need of a reminder that this world was not all darkness. Instantly she became a lantern to a greater way of being.
Her voice was not the gentle nudge I was expecting so much as an earth-shattering roar that WE ARE NOT WHAT HAPPENED TO US. Children are bigger than their bodies, stronger than their diagnosis, and the most resilient creatures on the planet. If only we can find it in ourselves to nurture that strength.
As a mother to a child who would forever be labeled as “different”, I needed to know these things. These realizations altered the course of my life, and I without doubt wouldn’t have come to them without the big and small ways Peach herself showed compassion, to me and to so many others, and revealed how to find impossible strength in moments of weakness that brought me to my knees.
On a daily basis, Madison Steiner successfully puts her audience inside a multitude of childhood illnesses, injuries and disabilities, not only inspiring empathy for those living with these conditions, but generating more awareness of the finite state of human existence. Which, in the busyness of life, can so easily be forgotten.
Kindness has always mattered. RIGHT NOW, it matters. Acceptance of people through all walks of life, all stages of growth, matters. And the human race as a whole is capable of much more than it often displays.
Peach’s Neet Feet at its core is about spreading kindness far and wide from where you are. The dream, of course, would be to envelope all of humanity. Simple acts of kindness are often the most powerful, and what begins as a tiny act of paying it forward – as in my life – can make a wave across the world.
~ Amanda Shrode