By Thomas Asbaty
The Macho Foundation is sponsoring a Volley for M.A.C.HO or Volleyball For a Cause on Wednesday, March 22 at the Pratt Recreation Gymnasium from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The entry fee is $10 per person, with five to seven players per team. There will be free t-shirts for the first 50 players, along with dinner for everyone. This will be the second annual Volley for a Cause for the foundation, and the money raised will be used for MACHO scholarships and MACHO rewards.
The Macho Foundation is a non-for profit organization that was founded by Cary Epstein, a professor at LIU post that has taught in substance abuse, human sexuality and nutrition classes in the department of health and physical education. Epstein’s brother, sister and mother created this foundation after Scott Epstein, his father, died in a tragic car accident in 2013. Macho means My Actions Can Affect Others, created due to Epstein’s stage wrestling name, Macho.
Scott was a counselor at Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick, NY. As a huge WWE fan, he would dress up and engage in jello fights for the kids. The kids grew to love him so much that the camp kept inviting him back; this lasted around 20 years. “It became this fun thing, and the kids looked forward to it, and my father took this macho character that he created and eventually made it so much more,” Epstein said.
Eventually his father and the kids grew to love Macho Man so much, he would dress up the whole summer as Macho Man. “It took on its own life, the camp changed his name tag, and instead of saying Scoot it said Macho,” Epstein said.
The word macho eventually turned into a new meaning. When a child at camp asked Scott what it meant, he responded, “It means my actions can help others and that is how I live my life and that is how you should live yours.”
Cary Epstein described his father as a man who put other people before himself; he was the epitome of kindness. So Scott began to not only be Macho and a camp counselor, but a man who inspired kids to be the best person that they could possibly be. “My father started to be a hero to thousands of kids and parents at camp. So much that when he passed away in 2013, there were around 900 people at his funeral service, with a recurring message that your father changed my life.”
“The foundation has been going on for years way before 2013, but there wasn’t a name to it, it was just my dad being himself and spreading kindness. But now it is our goal and mission as a family to leave behind the legacy that he left for us,” Epstein said.
The Macho Man logo is Scott Epstein as a cartoon, so he travels with the foundation as much as the family does. The foundation travels to schools mostly on Long Island. They put together assemblies that aim to teach kids kindness and not just to think with the brain, but to think with the heart as well.
Cary does all the motivational speaking. Cary, the oldest of the siblings, is the face of the foundation.
“This isn’t an anti-bully thing. It has nothing to do with bullying. It is all the things that you can do and things you should do. Not all the things you shouldn’t do. Kids are taught in school ‘don’t do that, don’t do this,’ which is important, but the Macho Foundation focuses on what you should be doing,” Epstein said.
As a non-profit organization, they are not allowed to collect money, so the money that comes in goes right back out to the community. The foundation receives money from the schools they speak at, and with that money, provide for the kids who can’t afford to go to day camp. They also have created Macho scholarships and the Macho rewards program.
The rewards program is for kids who aren’t the most athletic and best scholars in the school, but are just good overall kids. Through the program, any school can recognize any student, teacher, staff and faculty with a Macho reward for being a good person. The winners of the rewards program most importantly get recognition, and they also receive a plaque from the foundation.
Cary Epstein wants the foundation to be nationally recognized in the future. He compared his dream for this foundation with the Make a Wish foundation and Polar Bear Plunge, and he hopes that this foundation turns into his full time job.
For more information about The M.A.C.H.O Foundation, visit themachofoundation.org or search for theMACHOfoundation on Facebook and Instagram, and on Twitter at @wearemacho.
If you would you like to recognize someone for being MACHO you can email the foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org