Ski Jamin, founded in June 2009, seeks to introduce kids from the Fresno Central Valley to skiing and snow. The new nonprofit created by Laurie Nelson is designed to give minority kids and kids that face economic struggles the chance to join a multi-week ski program. "Our main goal is to expose kids to snow," explains Molly Terry, fundraising event planner for the program. "Then, we want to excel those who are passionate about it."

The program, which already has 50 kids ages 9-12 signed up along with some of their parents as volunteer chaperones who also want to learn to ski, will take the kids to Badger Pass and Sierra Summit for 12 weeks of Saturday lessons. Lessons, equipment, clothing, and transportation are all included.

The program is free for the kids. The Southwest Fresno Police Department and Fresno Parks Department is providing the transportation. Herb Bauer Sporting Goods has discounted its rental gear for the program. Ski Jamin is collecting donations of gear and clothing to help outfit the kids and their parents, plus has been running fundraisers since June to make the program happen.

The program intends to move kids with the interest into ski racing. Ski instructors and a ski race coach led by PSIA-certified Brian Nelson as ski school director make up the teaching staff.

"I faced my fear of heights on the mountain," says Terry, who credits skiing with giving her hope in winter on the Native American reservation where she grew up. "Now we're ready to give back to the community."

More information. Or call 877-545-2646.