Converse Teams Up with The Ben Raemers Foundation
In 2019, the global skateboarding community felt an urgency to shed light on mental health awareness following Ben Raemers’ passing. Ben’s close friends and family joined forces to launch the Ben Raemers Foundation. That collective sense of loss also motivated Converse to partner with the Ben Raemers Foundation to both maintain Raemers’ legacy and provide resources for mental health support across skateboarding.
As the team sought a starting point for their efforts, they found the answer was simple: the local skate shop. Skate shops are hubs of community. And, as a central point for skateboarders everywhere, skate shops are the ideal spot to offer tools, raise awareness, and encourage collective action at the local level.
In order to achieve this collective awareness, the Ben Raemers Foundation partnered Converse with LivingWorks, a suicide prevention education and training organization centered on empowering people to save lives. Since 1983, LivingWorks has trained over two million people on suicide prevention via a community-centric model. Through this collective effort, The Ben Raemers Foundation and Converse hope to apply that community model within skateboarding. The goal is to educate members of the global Converse CONS skate team and the skate shop community, enabling skateboarders with tools to speak up and reminding them to take care of themselves and each other.
The effort is coupled with a $25,000 donation to the Ben Raemers Foundation, which is committed to eradicating the stigma around mental health within skateboarding.
With the two-year anniversary of Raemers’ passing approaching in May, Converse CONS and The Ben Raemers’ Foundation are also unveiling a limited-edition tribute sneaker in his honor. Carrying on his legacy and love of blue One Star Pro Mid sneakers, the Converse CONS team selected detailing inspired by Raemers: an embossed silhouette of the foundation’s logo on the lateral heel, images of Raemers on both sockliners, and ‘Smile’ written in the outsole – SMILE is a series of films created by the foundation in which professional skateboarders talk openly and honestly about their own experiences with mental health. The design is a celebration of Raemers’ favorite Converse CONS silhouette, a wearable ode to his legacy and continued impact.
Converse x The Ben Raemers Foundation product is available starting May 14 at Converse.com and select retailers.