By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Titus Dittmann had a dream, that skateboarding would reach the farthest corners of the globe. He is one of those skaters that have managed to have an impact on skateboarding on a global scale, something a lot of people dream of but are not quite able to achieve.
Born in 1948, Dittman is considered to be the “father of the german skateboarding scene” he could be considered at some extend like the german Tony Hawk, due to the impact he has had on his country and the way he saw skateboarding as a developing tool for the youth in need, his company, Titus GmbH now managed by his son, is currently the leader in the European skateboarding and streetwear market.
He was fascinated by skateboarding from a very young age and saw the opportunity to dedicate his life and business to it, he was responsible for opening the first outdoor skatepark in Germany along with organizing the first contests and putting together the first skateboarding team in Europe! After a long and successful career in the skateboarding industry, he also saw an opportunity to give back not only to his local community but everyone in need of an outlet through skateboarding! that’s when The Titus Dittmann foundation and Skate-aid were born.
Since 2009, the non-profit organization has been collaborating not only with local skaters but brands and non-profit organizations all over the world to accomplish stuff that was never contemplated before, some of the most endangered areas of the world, now have not only skateparks but a teaching and lifelong lesson of skateboarding for the youth that has the need of it.
This is the main focus of the organization, to give the youth an opportunity to develop the skills and learn the lessons skateboarding can teach them, of course, this could be an easy task in other parts of the world, but in the so-called “3rd world countries” there are kids who have never seen a skateboard or any particular form of amusement and tool for their development of not only social but personal skills.
Areas where war, hunger, and blood overshadow the magnificent aspects of entire cultures. Skate-aid aimed to tackle some of these issues and have their global team working around the clock to make the world a better place through skateboarding.
Precisely in these places, Skate-aid teaches the youth that there are no borders, war skin color, religion or social status that separates us from being only human, they are looking for kids to connect to a higher level and thinking wave, one that only skateboarding can provide!
Programs and Resources
So how exactly is the organization helping out? Apart from the holistic approach to skateboarding culture and the merge factor of other cultures, they promote safe skating and the overall emotional and physical wellness of the kids involved in the different programs across the world projects like Skating instead of Ritalin, help kids with ADHD to gain coping skills trough skateboarding instead of taking heavy medications like Ritalin and the skate-aid@School that takes a mobile skatepark to local schools for the enjoyment of the young ones!. Let’s check out their approach in-depth:
- Construction and maintenance of skate parks as safe pedagogical socialization rooms with free access and support as well as structured leisure activities for kids and teenagers regardless of age, religion, skin color, social class and gender.
- Participatory involvement of kids and teenagers in all activities promoting cognitive and social skills.
- Carrying out free skateboard lessons (workshops) to promote self-determined personality development, resilience, integration and inclusion.
- Free provision of skateboards, accessories and safety gear.
- Implementation and promotion of national and international sporting events.
- Implementation and promotion of youth exchange programs for the purpose of reducing cultural barriers and prejudices.
- Carrying out special continuing education workshops for kids and teenagers on sensitive topics such as racism, drug abuse, environmental pollution, discrimination or AIDS.
- Conducting projects and actions that support young people, promote their individual and social development, provide them with life and guidance and open new perspectives to them.
As you can see, they are not only involved in building skateparks or giving away a few boards to some kids, the foundation has probably the most complete approach of any skateboarding organization focused on the development of youth! They have collaborated with brands like Element and TSG putting out signature products to raise money and continue to support their worldwide projects in Asia, America, and Africa.
In the words of their founder:
"We empower kids! For almost 10 years we’ve been using the power of skateboarding and all our potential in meanwhile 18 countries and more than 20 projects. But we need your help because only through your support we can give kids without a childhood a bit of vitality and confidence. I’m looking forward to your support! Let's help across the board! "
You can join the Skate-aid team and help kids across the globe with a couple of clicks!
Make sure to visit their website and find all of the cool SHIT® these guys are doing for the worldwide skateboarding community and while you’re at it, get a t-shirt or two, remember that all of the money goes for one of the best skateboarding causes out there.
We also recommend you check out the story of how these guys, along with team member Gabriel "Gabu" Santos built The first skatepark in Syria so you can see how seriously these guys take skateboarding and the impact it can make in every community!
Read also: Skaterhood: Skateboarding Without Borders