ENCINITAS — Twenty-five years ago, Patty Bolton devised a plan that would forever change the relationship Hansen Surfboards had with San Diego County. Bolton is the mastermind behind Goods for Grades, an incentive program that rewards children who receive As and Bs on their report cards.
The program, which Bolton implemented with the blessing of the Hansen family, has rewarded thousands of children with more than $1 million in store credit since its creation in 1995. In fact, parents who once benefitted from the program in their youth are now bringing in their children to also participate in Goods for Grades, Bolton said.
“We have been so thrilled with the results of the program,” said Bolton, who works as a manager and buyer for Hansen Surfboards. “The parents love it and the kids love it.”
Bolton said she came up with the program when she first began working at the Encinitas surf shop more than two decades ago. She said she wanted to encourage more children to come into the store.
“I worked at a couple surf shops before and noticed there were always kids who hung out at the stores,” Bolton said. “I just thought we should bring more kids in here.”
But what began as a small idea to attract more customers has blossomed into a program that actually encourages children to work harder in school, said La Tessieri, office manager for Hansen Surfboards.
“We have always been an advocate of education and this program not only encourages kids to work hard to achieve great things, but also the opportunity to be proud of their accomplishments,” Tessieri said. “It is such a joy to see a student come in to purchase something they have been saving for with their Goods for Grades vouchers.”
The store has also received praise and gratitude from educators themselves.
“I’ve had so many teachers call me and say how much they love the program,” Bolton said. “They’ll talk about it in their classrooms.”
The program is simple. Children are able to redeem store credit twice a year. For every A a student receives, he or she will earn $4 in store credit; For every B, it’s $2. Children are able to redeem store credit for up to six classes twice a year. Some children will immediately redeem the store credit they’ve received while others will save up years’ worth of money to purchase an expensive surfboard or skateboard, Bolton said.
Since the creation of the program, Bolton said she’s encountered many thankful parents and children. Some of the customers who stick out to her the most are the excited children who can barely write their own names, she said.
One mother, in particular, came into Hansen Surfboards to show Bolton her son’s college acceptance letter.
“She had two children who came in every semester to redeem their dollars,” Bolton said. “They were both really smart. One year, she came in and showed me her son’s acceptance letter into Harvard. It really meant a lot to me.”
Goods for Grades is just one way Hansen Surfboards gives back to the community, Tessieri said.
“We participate in numerous programs such as city events, school functions, surf events and charity auctions,” Tessieri said. “Requests come from all over and sometimes are a bit bigger than a family shop can handle, but we always do our best to support schools and community events in some way or another.”
But, when it comes to community, Goods for Grades will always be a focus for Hansen, a business that’s extremely proud of its program for children.
“The fact that we’ve given away more than $1 million is huge,” Bolton said. “It gets bigger every year and we have no plans of ever letting it go. The kids love it.”
Hansen Surfboards rewards children with store credit twice a year. The business is currently accepting report cards through March 31. The year-end report cards will be accepted through Aug. 15.
For more information about Hansen Surfboards, go to hansensurf.com/.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at email@example.com.