boldSOCKS’ Story

boldSOCKS’ Story

By Marjory Clay

Ryan + Joel

Ryan Roff is a passionate, mission-oriented Affinity mentor and partner. For the past five years, Ryan has mentored a Burton Elementary student named Joel, building a lasting bond. Ryan is originally from Minneapolis, moving to Michigan to attend Calvin College many years ago. It is there that he met his wife, Brooke, whom he now has two young children with and settled into Grand Rapids.

Ryan is highly passionate about mentoring, which has led him to not only mentor, but partner his company, boldSOCKS, with Affinity as well. “I saw a need for mentoring,” said Ryan, “I valued mentors over the years in my own life and felt a desire to pass it on. I wanted to invest into someone else. Knowing there is a waitlist for students to be matched with mentors is heartbreaking.” Each week Ryan and Joel play games together like “traffic jam” and jenga, or sometimes they work on homework or draw.

Partnership with Affinity

Ryan is the CEO and Co-Owner of a Grand Rapids based company, boldSOCKS, which currently has 8 employees who mentor weekly at Affinity. Through company give-back programs and organizational culture, their team believes that, “Together, we are a community of bold difference makers that value more than just fun socks.”

Ryan firmly believes that, “for organizations to be sustainable they need the support of businesses. Individuals have the opportunity to help, but it’s the support of the businesses that are the lifeline.”

“It was just me [mentoring] at the beginning, but we were looking for year end opportunities. No one had a response, it was eye-opening. We needed to figure out ways for employees to get involved with important causes.” Ryan began recruiting employees to mentor too. Eventually it evolved from a handful to almost the entire team.

BoldSOCKS’ staff usually carpool together to mentor, making it a type of team-building activity. “Five of us go together – we like to come in like a wrecking ball and serve at the same time.” In addition to mentoring, boldSOCKS also supports Affinity’s Annual Benefit Dinner to help ensure more students are matched with a caring mentor.

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