Impact is run by a small team with lots of heart. Founder and Executive Director, Yash Presswalla, is supported by the Board of Directors, a team of instructors, and a wide range of volunteers, including youth, parents, adult skaters, folks from partnering organizations, and more.
Since its inception, Impact has been about community and working together to uplift others. To everyone who has helped along the way, we owe a debt of gratitude.
Founder, Executive Director
Yash has been involved in kids’ skateboard programming in various forms since 2008. He began by working through the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation, where he ran an after-school instructional program for children from 4 to 12 years old, and Friday night drop-in for youth. In 2009, Yash and a partner established East York Skateboard Camp, which provided an opportunity to develop more in-depth programs. With the close of that partnership in 2016, Impact began to take form.
Through his years of experience with skateboard programming, Yash realized that there was a bigger picture, and that capturing the attention and imagination of youth at this crucial stage in their lives carried an opportunity to teach much more than just how to skate.
Through his background as a working musician, music instructor, pre-school assistant teacher, and support for adults with special needs, Yash has developed a wide variety of approaches to connecting with individuals. His kind, thoughtful, patient manner as an instructor is evidence of his care and commitment to serving others.
Nicky Young is a father, skateboarder, community organizer, and filmmaker born and raised in Toronto’s east end. Nicky’s work advocating for his local skateboarding community began nearly 20 years ago when he canvassed for signatures to get the Ashbridges Bay Skatepark built. In the years following, he began developing a love of photography, inherited from his mother, eventually leading to a career in media which started with shooting photos for skateboard magazines.
In 2019 Nicky debuted his first solo documentary film project, titled “Taking Space”, which follows a group of skateboarders intent on creating a DIY skatepark of their own. While Nicky’s work in media extends far beyond skateboarding, a common theme does exist of community, resistance, and self-determination through social movements.
Rylan grew up in the town of Brockville, Ontario, and in his early years was involved with many different sports programs and activities. Around the age of 12, he picked up his first skateboard. Not long after, he was selected to be a part of the Revolution (skate shop) skateboard team which led to a part-time job at Revolution, where he eventually helped to start Revolution Skateboard Camp.
After being a part of the Revolution family for 9 years, Rylan had the opportunity to move to Toronto, where he connected with the local skateboarding community and began volunteering for SkateLife, a skateboard youth outreach program. Through SkateLife he had the opportunity to go to Nanning, China, and helped to organize and run a skateboard camp there.
Rylan connected with Impact Skate Club in 2017, which has given him the opportunity to use his knowledge and passion for skateboarding as a way to connect with children and youth to help nurture creative problem-solving, self-respect, and the importance of community involvement.
Josh has been teaching skateboarding and directing camps for over 10 years at skateparks and programs across Toronto, including work with The Chill Foundation, Harbourfront Centre, Skateloft, and Impact Skate Club.
As a graduate of Ryerson University’s Psychology program, he views skateboarding as a way to foster confidence, resiliency, and tenacity in students. Skateboarding is hard. It can even feel impossible at times, but by breaking skills into small progressive chunks, students can learn how to build up confidence and overcome their fears.
"Skateboarding has really changed how I view learning. The idea that we are limited to a set of skills we are born with is incompatible with skateboarding, because nobody is born able to skateboard. In order to progress one is forced into a growth mindset where mastery is earned through time and effort. As a father of 2, I can’t really express how transformative that feeling can be for your kids—you have to see it for yourself".
Ashley started skateboarding while working at Malvern Skate Clinic. From here she learned the basics and went on to become a part the skateboarding community, and use her new found skills to help younger kids get acquainted with riding a board.
Her passion for skateboarding led Ashely to enroll in the photography program at Ryerson University in 2019. With an eye for skating, her education has allowed her to develop technical and conceptual chops, which she incorporates into her personal aesthetic as an artist and documentarian.
"All in all, I am a true "follow your dreams" advocate, while believing that dreams are easier to achieve with a positive and supportive community, like Impact."
Kalen started skating at the age of 12, and immediately fell in love, skating every single day in front of his home. It soon became an outlet – a space free of judgement and expectation, where he could determine for himself how hard to to push himself. Skateboarding doesn’t require the approval of others, and Kalen discovered that he was highly motivated, and always inspired to progress.
In the summer of 2017, he started spending more time at the East York Skatepark, and with Impact's summer camp. He found that he had a lot to offer the younger skaters, and decided to volunteer, spending his entire summer as part of the Impact crew. Now a staff member, Kalen continues to share his time and skills, helping kids to learn the valuable lessons skateboarding has to teach, while always pushing his own skating to greater heights.
Though skateboarding is his primary activity, Kalen is a skilled athlete and a talented musician. His maturity and sharp sense of humour is tempered with patience and kindness toward everyone he meets.
Jake fell in love with skateboarding when he was 6 years old and has been involved with skateboard youth programming since high school. Participating in various volunteer initiatives, he is passionate about sharing his excitement for skateboarding with new and experienced skaters alike.
Formally trained film and photography, Jake graduated from Centennial College and travelled the world, filming documentaries with a production company for 3 years before returning to school at the University of Toronto to become an educator.
Outside of skateboarding, Jake loves analog photography, jazz, travel, fishing, biking, and reaching for items on high shelves.