By Valentina Diaz
V. Diaz, a journalist and passionate skateboarder is a full-time writer for SHIT®️ Magazine.
This has been occurring in Poa, a Sao Paulo municipal in Brazil. With a population of more than 100 thousand people and characterized for it's problems with crime, violence and unemployment, and just like Poa there are also other places with the same issues.
Sandro and Leila have a project that helps children and youth to try out something unconventional, skateboarding. To these kids it's a fun game that helps them improve their skills and improve their vision for a better future while being part of something constructive.
Testinha is Sandro's pseudonym, he and Leila founded Social Skate, a nonprofit organization to teach skateboarding. They were looking for a place to skate and the only place was a field ground where some drug traffickers used to work.
He got to talk and explained his project with them, Testinha approached and offered free classes to their sons as an exchange to use the place and give the area to the kids. They accepted, so he started a new public space recovery program there, he explained to DW News.
Before this project, Sandro used to work in a youth penitentiary for ten years. There he understood the importance to accompany the kids in any process. Unfortunately, there are so many boys and girls who make bad decisions and, almost always because of bad influence and as he said in the interview, no one has been giving them another perspective.
Building a Future For Kids And Youth Through Skateboarding
To Testinha it is important to be there helping kids to not take the wrong way because it youth is already in jail things get more complicated. That's the reason why he and his wife created this nonprofit organization. To teach skateboarding to these disadvantaged kids who don't have privileges or opportunities.
Social Skate stood out in that there aren't free activities for boys and girls and those are urgent to the entire community because it's too difficult to finance any courses on their own.
Before starting their skate classes they share snacks with the kids if they haven't eaten breakfast, Sandro and Leila put some ramps in a public field and then the kids start to warm up.
Kids learn how to be disciplined, build self-confidence and get social skills. To Rafael da Silva (17) who told DW News that skateboarding helps you to to not give up and to get up and try one more time which pushes him to try more in real life as well.
The class gets feedback between the participants and talk about the right way of doing things and mistakes, but they also talk about principles and the importance of respecting others. Luana, who is 11 told DW News that if they take good notes at school they have the chance to go out for an excursion or choose among a pair of shoes or clothes.
They Are Giving A Lot Without Much Resources
Without a doubt, Social Skate work is something that provides to the new generations fun, learning, physical activities, entertainment, and a lot of benefits that if the organization hadn't been there, those kids and youth wouldn't have other perspectives. Thanks to skateboarding, they now do.
Testinha stood out that the ONG has taught skateboarding to more than a thousand kids who have had the chance that Social Skate could focus on their welfare. To him, this self-management lets the project invest in Brazil's future. Additionally, it is important to mention that this project lives from donations that are constantly lacking.
It might be difficult to continue with this social work and they might have to cut back some fundamental benefits. However, Sandro will not give up on it, "I have the intention to continue doing my job until old age, I grew up in the same circumstances and I would like to share what skateboarding taught me. It's my mission", he said to DW News.