In early 2013, the Tony Hawk Foundation alongside eBay Giving Works and many of the most famous artists in the music world raised over $125,000 to bring skateboarding parks to many underprivileged areas of the world. Ben Harper, a musician and founding member of the Tony Hawk Foundation, went out and found old pro skater decks from many professional skaters that no long had use for them any longer. These decks had years and years of service to the professionals who made them what they are today. They were also signed by many famous musicians with personal notes and signatures on the decks. They were collected gracefully and put up for auction as certifiable one-of-a-kind pieces of history. It’s a wonderful piece of extension and love from skateboarders who know what it’s like to hunt for a skate deck and work on their craft for long hours every day.
The opportunity to sell off these skate decks and bring in money to build skate decks in areas of the country that could use them the most was too hard to pass up. The Tony Hawk Foundation has built over 450 skate parks in low income areas to encourage kids to get outside, bask in the sunlight, and enjoy be social. The Jamie Thomas signature Zero deck that Bob Dylan signed went for over $38,000 in auction.
Youth’s from all types of backgrounds can take advantage of these new skate decks. With the proper safety gear, including elbow pads, knee pads, and best skate shoes, becoming proficient at this hobby will only take time and patience. For families who can’t afford the proper gear to affix their children with, you can reach out to Board Rescue, a 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to providing skateboarding gear and safety equipment to people who need it the most – underprivileged, at-risk, and special-needs kids. Much of the equipment they receive is donated to them from partners; otherwise they take on the cost of the rest.
They unfortunately do not provide gear directly to individuals, instead only to organizations that email them and can clearly demonstrate that equipment received will produce positive ongoing results and make the community they live in better for it. The staff at Board Rescue regularly reviews their email to check for worthy organizations.
They are able to make these donations of pads, shirts, skate shoes, and protective gear because of the support they receive from generous partners, and donations received from all over the country. They realize that skateboarding energizes communities and gets kids out from under the TV, instead forming good exercise habits and learning new skills. Some of the top skills skateboarding apply to the following:
- Increasing self confidence
- Adapting to new environments not previously exposed to
- Socializing with others
- Focusing on tricks that can apply to focusing on school tasks
- Understand that hard work can lead to tangible results
- The health benefits of outdoor activity is great
Skateboarding is a wonderful sport and should be able to be practiced safely by anyone who has the interest. Being able to provide gear and shoes for women and men, plus build free skate decks is a step in the right direction. It gets kids out of the home and out in the sun. It also gives people something to do when they otherwise may be getting into trouble. It’s about time everyone has the opportunity to skate and not just the affluent kids from the nice neighborhoods but anyone who has followed their hero on TV and wants to emulate them and become a role model for other kids.