A new initiative that provides free skateboards and coaching at Betsy Head Park’s skatepark in Brownsville is giving local kids the chance to try out the sport in their new neighborhood spot, and it’s proving popular.
Over the summer, development company L+M Development Partners partnered with the Harold Hunter Foundation to bring the free skateboarding clinics to local kids at the park four days a week, CBS2 reports.
“It’s not an activity that lots of kids participate in, particularly in this area of Brooklyn … We wanted to make sure that the kids who live here felt like it was for them,” Gingi Pica, L+M Development Partners director of community investment, said.
But for 7-year-old Malcolm Vincent Gravenhise, who has been involved in the program: “It’s a sport that I really enjoy.”
Skateboarding coach Bilao Ndongo, who lives in the neighborhood, told CBS2 that the program had “been overwhelmingly satisfying.”
“Just the fact the kids can have access to a space like this is important.”
The program also provides free skateboards and gear that kids can rent out to use at the park, which makes a huge difference, coach Shani Bouldin said.
“A lot of people would come to the park but never had a skateboard, so they would even tell me, like, I’m glad you guys are here because I always wanted to do it but I just didn’t have the means to.”
Bouldin added the new skate park was encouraging kids to try something new and to stick with it. “Before they were watching skaters, now they are skaters, so it’s like, you know, I’ve seen it change some people’s lives.”
For 11-year-old Zalen Peoples, who was new to skating before he started the clinic, the highlight of the program was that he’d learned tricks like how to ollie.
Another highlight: “Be able to do something besides homework after school.”
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