I grew up skating at a time when most non-skaters associated it with vandalism, drug and alcohol use, other negative stereotypes. Over the years, running skateboard programs and simultaneously healing from some of the damage caused by low self-esteem and bad choices, I began to see skateboarding as a tool, and an opportunity for personal development.
These days, I think a lot of the negative social baggage of skating has been shed, and we’re left with more of the true ethos of skateboarding, which is pure and wholesome: inclusion, resilience, determination, and community. With Impact, we see that ethos as a springboard to teach kids about being true to themselves, being engaged with the world around them, and developing an identity based on their inherent worthiness—not what they do, but who they are.
These are all things I needed as a young person, and using skateboarding to approach these serious and important topics has proven extremely fruitful. Supporting Impact means supporting kids to grow and mature in ways that school and most peer groups do not address. Kids are their best selves when they feel safe and cared for, and that is our primary goal. From that place, they can are able to engage in the physical challenges of skateboarding, learn about creative problem-solving, develop themselves socially and emotionally, and be empowered to help those in need.