Freedom Skate Park Partners with Vans to Give Away Skateboards and Shoes to At-Risk Youth in the Trenton Area

November 22, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora joined representatives from Freedom Skate ParkSuper Skate PosseDogwood Skate ShopVansSanta Cruz Skateboards, and Shred Co. on Saturday, November 20th to provide free skateboards, Vans shoes, Pro Tec helmets, and lessons to a group of 25 underserved youth from the Trenton area enrolled in Sprout U School of the Arts

The event was part of Freedom Skate Park’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program, a series of free, weekly skateboarding events at a pop-up indoor skate park in the historic Roebling Wire Works building. Freedom is the only skate park in Trenton and the largest indoor skate park in New Jersey.

“The Freedom team uses skateboarding to teach youth in our city important life lessons about thinking creatively, setting goals, and following through on those goals while also giving them the chance to do something fun. This puts them on the path towards success while continuing to build a healthy, safe Capital City community,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “Today’s event provided that opportunity for these kids, and giving each of them a board, shoes, and a helmet to take home means they’ll be able to keep practicing and share our lessons with their friends.”

“The process of seeing an obstacle, thinking of a trick to do on that obstacle, and then perfecting the physical skill needed to perform the trick doesn’t just keep young people active, it also teaches them to think outside the box, set goals for themselves, and cheer on their friends in a positive, supportive environment” said Jake McNichol, Founder and Executive Director of Freedom. “Giving kids in Trenton who otherwise might not be able to skate the chance to not only enjoy the park but also take home their own board and shoes to keep practicing and share skating with their friends is critical to Freedom’s mission to use skating as a tool to build a stronger, healthier Trenton community.”

“Sprout U School of the Arts is dedicated to giving kids in Trenton creative opportunities they might not have otherwise,” said Sprout U Headmaster Danielle Miller-Windrow. “We started bringing some of our kids to skate at Freedom during last year’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program, and we immediately saw the benefits. Not only did skating give them a new and fun way to stay physically active, but it also helps them think outside the box and support one another as they achieve their goals. I am thrilled that a new group of kids will be getting the equipment and lessons they need to start skating and keep practicing at home.” 

“As the authentic, original skateboarding shoe, Vans has been part of skateboarding’s growth since the beginning,” said Zach Sheats, Skate Marketing Manager – Americas at Vans. “We are proud to give young people in Trenton who might not have access to skateboard equipment the high quality shoes, skateboards, and helmets they need to have a great time skating with their friends.”  

“Skateboarding is unlike anything else in the world. It is a unique, creative outlet that allows people to express themselves as individuals while being part of a diverse, supportive community. Giving kids access to the equipment needed to participate and enjoy the mental health benefits of skateboarding, allows them the tools to overcome the challenges they face and, just as important, have a lot of fun and be part of a caring and inclusive community,” said Super Skate Posse Co-Founder Chris Nieratko. “Freedom is an awesome organization that has been doing this work in Trenton for years, and Super Skate Posse is excited to work with them and Sprout U to give more kids the chance to skate.” 

Currently, there are no skate parks in Trenton and hardly any indoor skate parks in the entire state of New Jersey. This means there are no safe, legal places for youth and young adults in Trenton to learn the important lessons skating teaches and there is nowhere for skateboarders in New Jersey to practice their skills when it is too rainy, cold, or dark to skate outside. 

Freedom’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program addresses both of these problems by providing a public, indoor skate park in the historic Roebling Wire Works building. In addition to weekly “Open Skate” events, Freedom partners with local nonprofits serving at-risk youth to run board giveaways. 

Saturday’s event brought a group of 25 youth enrolled in Trenton school Sprout U School of the Arts to Freedom for a skateboarding demonstration featuring Santa Cruz Skateboards professional skateboarder Tom Asta and team riders from local skateboard shop Dogwood Skate Shop, as well as lessons provided by Shred Co. 

Thanks to generous donations from Vans, Santa Cruz Skateboards, and Pro-Tech Helmets, every child who participated in the event took home their very own skateboard as well as a brand new pair of Vans skate shoes and a Pro Tec helmet. Providing shoes specifically made for skating is important because they better protect youths’ feet and are made of more durable materials designed to withstand the specific kind of wear and tear that results from skating. 

Freedom organized the event in coordination with Super Skate Posse, a national nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to skateboarding, and Dogwood Skate Shop, a local skateboard shop based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania that has supported the growth of Trenton’s skateboard scene and played an integral part in getting a number of public skate parks in the area built. 

About Freedom: Freedom is an all-volunteer 501c(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to giving more people the opportunity to learn the valuable life lessons skateboarding teaches by providing safe indoor spaces for skaters of all ages and skill levels to practice and connect with other members of the skate community. Freedom’s Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program provides the only skate park in Trenton and the only public, indoor skate park in the state of New Jersey. More information and a full event schedule is available at www.freedomnj.org/winter_skate.

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