It was early in the morning on Dec. 27 last year when Scott Epstein, NYC educator, wrestling promoter and Oceanside resident on his way to assist in a family emergency, was killed in a car accident in East Rockaway.
Six months later, Epstein’s family has started a charity in his name. The MACHO Foundation—My Actions Can Help Others—gives back to local children.
“He was very involved with kids, and had great ideas,” said Epstein’s friend of 40 years, Susan Kind, a Woodmere resident who works as a guidance counselor in New York City’s public schools. “It’s great to give to children, especially the underprivileged.”
The MACHO Foundation was granted non-profit status in April, and can legally collect donations to achieve the foundation’s goals. Cary Epstein, along with his brother Ian, sister Ilissa and mother Shelly, created the foundation to honor Scott’s life.
“We endeavor to raise money and awareness for causes around the world that are close to our hearts and to create public awareness campaigns that encourage others to take action,” Cary said. “We believe that small gestures of good will have the potential to make the world infinitely better and we hope to encourage others to be ‘MACHO.’”
The organization, Cary said, has begun giving out MACHO Awards to children at summer camps and schools, and it has already signed on board with numerous sleep-away camps and day camps along the east coast who will be participating in their awards program for the summer.
“On Long Island, Coleman Country Day Camp and Malibu Beach Camp have made MACHO the theme of their camps,” he said. “Currently, we are raising funds for various projects our dad felt passionate about such as: sending kids to summer camp, providing assistance to families impacted by substance abuse and protecting animal welfare.”
MACHO Mountain is one of many activities and ways that Scott has left his mark on the camp community, said Ross Coleman, owner and director of Coleman Country Day Camp in Merrick.
“He reinvented himself constantly,” he said. “His rock climbing course, MACHO Mountain, was where he really made his mark. It’s a big deal for our kids to climb and finish it. The mountain is such a perfect way to teach, where kids learn how to overcome fears and dream big, challenging themselves to achieve their personal best.”
After the summer season, when camps are closed and the children have returned to school, Cary said that the foundation has been working on plans to work with children during the next year and beyond.
“We are in the process of creating social network campaigns and viral videos, assembly programs for schools, and motivational workshops for professionals to promote the MACHO lifestyle worldwide,” he said. “Unique MACHO races and fundraising events are also on the horizon for our foundation.”
Kind said that she still hasn’t gotten over his loss, as he was the best friend, always there for her and others. “I can’t imagine the camp without him,” she said. “He was Peter Pan. He was like a big kid who loved what he did. He was a superstar in a giving way.”
To learn more about the MACHO Foundation,