Over the course of the last thirty years there have been many athletes who have changed the course of Olympic history. Heroes who inspire and leave deep impressions of embodied memories for years to come. Blood, sweat and tears don’t even come close.
Rarely seen are the mental anguish and internal battles these athletes endure. How they overcome them is the journey that truly inspires. This week Olympic swimmer Alison Schmitt opened up about her fight with depression on the Today Show. Schmitt divulged how depression had paralyzed her and how seeking professional help and sharing her vulnerabilities with friends like Michael Phelps put her back on track for the Gold. Phelps often refers to Schmitt as a sister from another mother. They have trained together for over a decade. It takes a village to raise a champion and Schmitt has taken a personal stance to help others with their plight.
Schmitt along with the rest of her team mates are “paying it forward” with VIP Survivor’s Olympian Leather Cuff. The entire Team USA swim team received the emblazoned “Olympian” gold cuffs and have been wearing them in Rio. When they return to the USA, they will autograph the back of each cuff and give it to someone they feel possesses Olympian traits. Commemorating this journey and inspiring greatness in others is the goal.
VIP Survivor founder Leigh Ann Barnes and Dana Jo from Fulfillment Merch teamed up to design these custom Olympian bracelets. “Designing a special cuff for Team USA was an awesome endeavor. We are so excited they’re wearing them and look forward to collaborating with Allison Schmitt on her own line of inspirational cuffs,” said Leigh Ann Barnes. “Our VIP Survivor cuffs are pretty special because they’re handmade in the USA by some Very Important People, survivors of domestic violence.” VIP Survivor creates products using the leather remnants and gives women jobs here in the U.S., especially ones who are trying to rebuild their lives.
Partnering with domestic violence shelters across the country, VIP Survivor hires women residing in the shelters’ transitional housing and offers them an opportunity to earn money while in a safe haven environment. It’s a triple win – a product that is creating new jobs here in America from a new employee pool by reclaiming exquisite leather remnants and scraps.