2019 Grants Challenge
🎉 Finalist

STOKED Skate Club

STOKED Skate Club is an afterschool program that inspires and empowers kids to skateboard in a safe, creative, and positive environment. STOKED partners with schools and community organizations to use skateboarding as an effective tool for promoting positive youth development, physical literacy, safe play spaces, and the celebration of alternative sports to keep kids active. STOKED will serve over 1000 new students in LA by expanding the STOKED Skate Club to 15 new site locations.


Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.

Erick joined STOKED four years ago at the insistence of his AP Bio teacher. As an undocumented youth in LA, he worked throughout high school to help his family stay afloat, and often found himself responsible for caring for three younger siblings. Luckily he found the time between school work, home responsibilities, and jobs to participate in STOKED - a sanctuary in which he could decompress from the stresses he encountered on a daily basis, and channel his determination to overcome adversity and learn to skate, snowboard, and surf. Through his participation in STOKED, Erick became aware of his unhealthy lifestyle of poor eating habits, too much screen time, and limited physical activity. Inspired by STOKED and our commitment to overcoming obstacles and building resilience, he committed to being more active, eating more healthy foods, and dedicating time to play with friends that were also in STOKED. For him, these sports were never anything he saw himself being able to do, so to have an avenue to find yourself on top of a mountain or catching a wave in Malibu was monumental. He was able to learn from adult mentors that balanced their life and work with healthy amounts of play and activity. He was able to see himself being more than what he saw around him at his school, job, and home; and ultimately was awarded for such bravery by winning the Student of the Year Award in 2018. Having conquered the fear of "dropping in" on a skateboard, it was no problem for Erick to become an advocate for other undocumented students to see themselves conquering their daily obstacles. His relationship with his STOKED Coach, Max, was instrumental to his success. For many students, taking advantage of opportunities is a challenge, but for Erick, he immediately saw value in STOKED sports programs and college and career readiness programs. He had a safe place to try new things and learn with people who truly cared about his future. Erick is the first in his family to go to college, so he tells his story so other students can see themselves doing the same.

Which of the PLAY metrics will your submission impact?​​

Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play

Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs

Perceived safety

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?​

Central LA

East LA

South LA

How will your project make LA the best place to PLAY?

An active lifestyle is critical for the collective health of LA. Skateboarding is a positive physical activity for kids and a fun alternative to screen time. By providing positive skate instruction and mentoring, we create opportunities for kids to learn a new activity in a safe environment and raise awareness of the health benefits of skateboarding. We successfully piloted STOKED Skate Club in NY, and we seek to expand in LA. The four components of our strategy are: (1) Create accessible play spaces for underserved youth, (2) Provide developmentally appropriate lessons, (3) Provide 4 hours of physical activity each week, and (4) Make the program fun!

We will create informal skate spaces for youth that are free from physical and emotional threats through partnerships with schools and organizations such as Aspire Public Schools with yards that can be transformed into skateparks using movable obstacles. We will provide all gear at no cost, recruit kids that are less likely to be engaged in traditional sports, as well as increase participation among girls through targeted recruitment, and provide training for coaches and professional development to ensure lessons are age appropriate. We will provide a mix of lessons and free skate over 240 min / week. Kids will learn basic skills, etiquette, and safety guidelines needed to practice the sport outside the program. And it is essential that kids have fun! We will focus on goal setting rather than winning and losing, support peer mentoring where kids build healthy relationships, engage parents to help kids carry their practice outside of the program, and use rewards and incentives to celebrate successes such as stickers and badges.

STOKED is committed to serving low-income youth. Our current population is 97% Latinx students, with the remaining 3% Black, Asian or Pacific Islander. 42% of students identify as female, which is almost double the percentage of women that participate in action sports in society at large (25%).

Timeline begins in July when we confirm locations with partner organizations. In August we will visit sites, recruit, deliver equipment, hire and train coaches. The first 8-wk session will launch at sites Sept-Nov, the second session will be Dec-Feb, and the third will be Mar-May. In June we will compile data for presentation.

STOKED Skate Club will make measurable progress towards making LA the best place to play by: (1) Engaging 1,000 underserved youth in skate programs, (2) Inspiring them with skills to be active lifelong athletes, (3) Increasing positive mentor/peer relationships, (4) Creating stronger connections to community, (5) Increasing kids’ access to skateboarding and skate culture, (6) Providing schools and organizations with the resources to integrate skating into their afterschool programs with confidence and excitement, (7) Minimizing risk of injury by providing safe instruction, and (8) Promoting positive benefits of skateboarding to parents and community.

In what stage of innovation is this project?​

Post-pilot (testing an expansion of concept after initially successful pilot)

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

We will consider this project a success when we: (1) Engage 1000+ low-income and underserved kids in skate programs, (2) Increase student access to skateboarding and skate culture by creating new play spaces and providing schools and organizations with the necessary resources to integrate skateboarding into their afterschool programs with confidence and excitement, (3) Inspire kids to be healthy, lifelong athletes by providing early positive experiences for them in sports, (4) Minimize risk of injury and meet community needs by providing safe instruction, and (5) Promote positive benefits of skateboarding to parents, administrators, and community stakeholders who will in turn be supports to students seeking to continue practicing the sport outside of the program.

We will measure this success through outputs such as: (1) Number of student participants from low-income families engaged, and (2) Number of newly created play spaces for skateboarding. We will measure student participant outcomes through a series of self-reported surveys administered periodically over the duration of the program. Surveys will measure: (1) Increases in students’ feelings of optimism, confidence, creativity, and resilience, (2) Feelings of safety and connection to their school and community, and (3) Feelings of confidence in their skate skills and ability to teach others.

We will consider this project a success when partner sites are able to sustain programs for years to come at very low cost because the initial equipment and materials costs are not a factor.