“I know that if I do a trick and I land it, I know that if I worked hard for it, I can do the same thing at school.
— Skate After School participant
With old skateboards, a whole bunch of love and a supportive community, Skate After School has been teaching children in underfunded schools the most important skills we all need in life. And the best part? They’re making school way more exciting.
Skate Ater School is changing lives around Phoenix, Arizona in a big way. It’s increasing school attendance, teaching respect for one another, and encouraging kids to shoot for getting much better grades. And they’re doing it in the best way possible: harnessing the power of the number one thing kids want to do. They’re doing it through play.
“Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.” — Diane Ackerman
Sometimes, we learn the most in the lessons that go unrecognized. The ones that sneak up on you and you greet with a, “Hey! You’re here now!” And afterward, you suddenly know something new. You didn’t try to cram that information in there. No, it was an experience. It came with ease.
It’s in this way that we learn how to respect one another; how we learn to innovate, be generous, and persistent. We don’t find the instructions for these sort of skills in textbooks — our experiences aren’t between those pages. We learn these skills when we’re engaging with one another, learning something new together, and rooting for each other. Our own character develops when we watch someone fail without judgment, just support. These are the skills each of us needs in whatever we decide to do in life. And Skate After School has created an environment where students learn these life lessons and blossom.
Check out this first video from Diego Meek to hear from some of the children themselves on the impact this program has had on their lives.
How awesome is that?!
The Impact of Skate After School
“We use the activity of skateboarding to create a fun and encouraging environment for the kids and within that environment, we get a chance to talk to them about being good to each other, respecting each other, trying new things, and working hard and not giving up.” — Tim Ward, Cofounder of Skate After School
Changing the world for hundreds of people doesn’t have to come from doing something entirely new. The best advances most often come from combining things that already exist! In the case of Skate After School, they began with the idea of recirculating old, unused skateboards back into community organizations. It’s a simple idea. But it’s one that’s had an impact on so many levels.
Today, Skate After School serves roughly 240 students per week. 1 In their video below, we get to hear from the founders of Skate After School about how it began, the impact they’ve seen on these students, and school’s responses to the program since their founding in 2013!
If you’d like to learn more about Skate After School or how you can get involved in the program, click here to head over to their website! You can also stay up to date with all that they’re doing by following them on, Facebook and Instagram.
More awesome programs helping children through play!
What could easily be integrated into your own communities to enhance the quality of play for children? Or for adults, let’s be real. After all, shouldn’t everyone be bringing a little more play into life? (Think about the popular places that are meant for us to gather.)
Stay open to new possibilities!
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein
Did you ever go to an after-school program?
- Skate After School. “Skate After School.” Skate After School, www.skateafterschool.org/#about. Accessed 25 June 2019. ↩
- SkateAfterSchool. “Skate After School.” YouTube, SkateAfterSchool, 3 Aug. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSZ_nhaTSGQ&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 25 June 2019. ↩