By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Gabriel recalls how skateboarding has been a huge part of his life, even before he was able to walk he used to sit down and roll around in a used-up board that belonged to his cousin and by the time he was eighth, he fully immersed himself in this culture that became his way of life from then on.
This is probably why Gabriel sees the importance of kids to be able to experience skateboarding first hand, he believes (as most of us) that skateboarding is not only a medium to channel inner frustrations, but also a way to separate yourself from harsh and hard to handle realities that humans have to go through, especially at young ages.
By the time he was in college, he decided he wanted to make a positive impact on the world through skateboarding and after a long search he finally found a team that was able to help him help others while doing what he loved the most, skateboarding! That’s when he teamed up with Skate-Aid and found his call.
Ever since, he has been traveling around the world helping out those in need, working alongside an amazing team of people that care not only about each other, but also the development of society and skateboarding as a tool to accomplish it.
The Skate-Aid Organization
Skate-Aid ist a german non-profit organization whose main focus is to provide children wich the tools to be able to skate, this is mainly done on countries were the level of poverty and social issues are very high, causing the youth to be at risk.
Since 2009, the organization has been working from Rwanda and Kenya to Namibia where they have worked with orphans and visually impaired kids. Skate-aid focuses on helping kids to socialize, prevention, and peace work, where social injustices and difficult living conditions, endanger young people and might cause them to slow down their development.
Syria, Damascus Skatepark
Damascus being a central city, has been one of the most affected ones by the conflict, many of its citizens have fleed or been relocated for security reasons. Recently, the city has been a focus of progress and development and skate-aid wanted to pitch in and provide an outlet for the kids that still had to struggle with the social backlash of the conflict.
In 2019, Gabriel received a call to participate in one of the most ambitious projects attempted by the organization, the stories did not stop him and the skate-aid team to go and make a difference for the citizens of Damascus.
The team had to stop at military checkpoints constantly and fear was always on their mind, but the urge to complete the project was even bigger than the negative feelings that the team had.
They started working early in the morning, and some of the locals wondered what they were doing, most of them had never seen a skatepark but once the team started to show them other projects, they realized what their intention was and even decided to give them a hand to complete the project which took a little over 2 months to be completed.
A Light Of Hope
The organization has now developed workshops related to skateboarding in addition to the necessary skate equipment, such as skateboards, safety gear, helmets, and hardware, that the kids can borrow. Local leaders are also trained to keep the whole park and organization running smoothly and creating a sense of belonging in the very young local skateboarding community.
Gabriel still keeps in touch with the kids that are part of the project who send him videos of their improvement, he is more than happy to look at them and even send them some tips trough social media platforms! He has been greatly impacted by seeing for himself how skateboarding brings joy to the kids in such a difficult condition in various places of the world and states that he is looking forward to going back and skate with the kids that left him with some teachings on their own.
There you have it my dudes and dudettes, skateboarding has been a huge impact across the world in many ways and there are people out there such as Gabriel and organizations like skate-aid that are willing to put in their strength and time to make it a better place!
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