Not a lot compares to being 10-years old and getting your first skateboard. I still remember this day so vividly. I’d been playing team sports for some years and liking it, but after getting a board somehow knew that skating would be “my thing.” I was right. Seventeen years later I still love it. This “thing” has taught many lessons, introduced me to lifelong friends, and provided for lots of fun.
Today, I got to relive this day times twelve. The past few Saturdays we’ve been teaching the kids from Milk and Honey how to skate. Milk and Honey is a community-based organization that provides early intervention programs for at-risk children and youth in Pensacola’s inner city. I didn’t expect these kids to take to skating like they did. I imagined that a few of the kids would want to pursue it, but it ended up being more like all of them. I’ve done a lot of skate lessons and have never seen a group of kids progress so quickly.
All the kids left today with brand new skateboards, helmets, and a membership to the Waterboyz skatepark. We asked in return that they “pay it forward” and try to help out when they can, and reminded them that a small act of kindness can make a big impact in someone’s life. They also agreed to be advocates for the skatepark project we’ve been working on that will be in memory of Blake Doyle.
The proposed skatepark site is under I-110 Overpass at Hayne and Jackson St. We’ve been working hard on this and almost have all of the approvals needed to make it happen. The Department of Transportation gave us the green light and we received a letter of commitment from Mayor Hayward. On October 13th we will present the project to the Pensacola City Council. The kids agreed to come to the meeting and show their support. In fact, we could use all the support we can get!
The past few weeks would not have been possible without a grant from the Kugelman Foundation. I’d also like to especially that Waterboyz and First Ride for making this happen. It was the best feeling to share something I love with a group of kids that otherwise may never have had the opportunity. Many thanks to everyone involved.