A conflict arises when someone wants change or new knowledge, but where do they start? The question becomes how to perform the initial step towards change.
Skateboarding represents the spark to begin the cascade of overcoming change and developing a new sense of control by learning. The opportunity to learn life skills such as work ethic, discipline, and courage, all while simply having fun, is the antidote of skateboarding. These life skills create the spark of determination to expand an individual’s comfort zone for the real world at school and in a career to achieve success. Humans do not magically learn these life skills overnight. Furthermore, not everyone retains the information of learning life skills by verbal teaching. Many people require the experience of learning by physically doing and using bare hands. Skateboarding represents a learning tool of physical interaction.
It is more effective to introduce youth to life skills through skateboarding now, than to have that youth learn life skills while they are also supposed to immediately achieve high grades in school. Life skills must be learned and developed at a young age to act as an advantage in school. Life skills are a contributing factor to success, therefore, let someone learn life skills through skateboarding while they are in their youth so that future success is within their grasp. The Harold Hunter Foundation (http://haroldhunter.org/) is a community-based skateboard program that provides support to inner-city youth with valuable life experiences to reach their full potential. Youth are empowered by the Harold Hunter Foundation to nurture individuality and creativity.
Skateboarding is effective in beginning the cascade of learning by being an innovative progression-oriented activity, as opposed to plain paper and pencil strategies. To expect an individual to wake up one morning and automatically immerse themselves in change and even success is unrealistic. This is why the outlet of skateboarding initiates the cascade of saying ‘yes’ and trying something new. Let us appreciate individuals who develop their determination to learn new principals and adapt to change by starting with the act of skateboarding. Similarly, the Next-Up Foundation (http://nextupfoundation.org/) uses the power of skateboarding to motivate at-risk youth to overcome challenges and become the best possible versions of themselves.
There is a momentum that skateboarding can carry outside of the skateparks or skate spots. The ability to skateboard and feel productive enjoyment, where an individual is having fun and also benefiting life skills, creates favourable emotion towards change. Skateboarding gets the ball rolling, or more specifically the wheel rolling, to initiate progress towards a desired goal. In this sense, skateboarding breaks the ice.
An organization that uses skateboarding as a real tool to spark change in youth and to get youth back on the right path to a meaningful life, is STOKED Mentoring.
STOKED introduces skateboarding to struggling youth who do not have the financial resources to experience new activities/sports such as skateboarding. STOKED aims to get youth to believe in themselves through skateboarding to make room for personal development. Skateboarding acts as a change of environment to step outside of comfort zones and to gain a new perspective to improve oneself. With STOKED, skateboarding grabs youth interest and serves as a learning platform for academic achievement. What is also very admirable about STOKED is that the organization also includes other action sports such as snowboarding and surfing.
In society there exists an opportunity gap. To illustrate the opportunity gap, child A represents someone from a financially strong family, and child B represents someone from a financially struggling family. The fact is that the family of child B uses their money for necessities such as food and shelter. The family of child B does not have the resources and tools to afford sending child B to leadership camps or social events. Conversely, the family of child A has money to afford buying child A new equipment for sports and can create a large number of meaningful experiences for child A by going on trips and exploring.
The reason that the difference between the gap for opportunity between child A and B is of concern is because without tools, resources, equipment, and experiences, how can child B learn life skills. Child B may not even have a role-model in the family to emulate, or even know of a role-model because child B has been sheltered from experiences. It doesn't matter who you are, if you are not provided the environment to learn and given new opportunities to experiment with interests, you will be lost and discouraged.
STOKED fills the opportunity gap to level the playing field so that child B is given a chance to reach their highest potential.
STOKED was founded by Steve Larosiliere. You can view the STOKED website by clicking this link (http://www.stoked.org/). Steve had also started an incredible Skate Motivation Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/skate.motivation/) and Podcast page (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/skate-motivation-podcast-stoked/id1042304237?mt=2).
Posted below are 4 video's that teach the STOKED mission to bring value and equality to the lives of youth.
Skate FOr Change
Giving back to your community to those less fortunate and in some cases living in poverty, is always an important duty. Skate for Change, created by Mike Smith, is an organization that recognizes that skateboarders can change the world and help those less fortunate. To use the symbol of a skateboard as a non-verbal cue that you care, that you seek change, is the result of Skate For Change. Skate for Change serves as a platform for give skateboarders the opportunity to show their pride in helping others.
Mike Smith tells Nebraska PBS,
“Skate for Change was completely just, kind of an accident. Every Tuesday I would go by myself and just hand out food and water and socks and hygiene kits to the homeless guys that were on street corners. Then a buddy saw me and it was just me and him, then a couple more and a couple more then it just kind of kept growing." Full article here: http://netnebraska.org/article/news/nebraska-skateboarding-outreach-homeless-spreads-across-country.
Mike has proved that a skateboarder can spark change in our world. Skateboarders are fully capable to dedicate their time and efforts to making an impact. Skate For Change has grown to reach other cities such as Detroit, Seattle, Kansas City, Denver, and has been introduced in Canada. The simplistic operations of Skate For Change, simply an individual with their skateboard and supplies for the homeless, does not rely strongly on the economy (fundraising) like traditional homeless outreach and government organizations do, which is difficult for these organizations. In addition, Skate For Change does not get slowed down with the paperwork that homeless outreach and government organizations have to go through.