Ever since Thanksgiving weekend, the holiday spirit has been flying high at Urban Air in Mint Hill. The reason? Owner Chris Fasulka has a passion to reach out and meet needs for kids who have them. Most recently, Urban Air hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner and Party for local refugee and foster kids.
“I thought about doing something all the way back in September. I mean, I knew I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what to do.” Fasulka shares. “But, I had a friend, Roberta Griner, who had adopted three girls from Poland. They had their big one-year anniversary of becoming a family and I thought, that’s it. Those are the kids I can reach.”
With Griner’s help, Fasulka was able to host 135 kids in his indoor trampoline and adventure park. For four hours on Thanksgiving Day, Urban Air allowed kids total access to anything they wanted to do in the building. Games in the arcade, time on various trampolines, rounds of ultimate trampoline dodgeball, access to the American Ninja Warrior Course – you name it, every kid got to enjoy it for free. “If a kid was here, he or she got to jump.” Fasulka firmly states. “They did everything. As long as they needed to fully enjoy games and eat food, they were here.”
Afterwards, each kid got to also enjoy a real Thanksgiving dinner. “We had a full course meal. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, desserts – we had it all.” Fasulka lists. “My partners, Performance Food and Pepsi, donated everything. Everything was comped.”
Fasulka says he could never have done anything on this large of a scale without the support of his employees and members of the Mint Hill community. “My staff volunteered their time. Some were here the full four hours, unpaid. They helped kids with harnesses, swiped cards in the arcade, served food – just cause they wanted to help me out. I can never thank them enough.” Fasulka brags. “Everybody stepped up and it made it a perfect day.”
Although it was the first time in forty-six years that Fasulka missed Thanksgiving with his family back in Pennsylvania, he says he would do it again in a heartbeat. Fasulka smiles through tears as he remembers his favorite part of the day. “When they were leaving, each kid thanked me. 135 times I heard ‘thank you.’ Now that will put a big smile on your face.”
This generosity of spirit seems to be almost second nature for Fasulka. He donated the thirty leftover dinner plates from this party to a local men’s’ shelter in Charlotte. He also says he has big plans to use Urban Air to continue this kind of holiday feeling all year round. “I’m not slowing down. I want to do more.” Fasulka smiles broadly. “I have been very fortunate in my life and I want to pass that on to someone else. No matter what happens, I just want people to say they knew what Chris Fasulka was about.” And the people of Mint Hill do, Chris. We do.