Freedom Skate, an all-volunteer nonprofit based in Trenton that uses skateboarding to teach youth important leadership skills and build community, is expanding its effort to make skateboarding more accessible to Trentonians.

“Following a successful pilot program last winter, we are collaborating with the City of Trenton Recreation Department to expand our Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program,” said Freedom Skate Executive Director Jake McNichol, who views skateboarding as a way to keep kids physically healthy while teaching them valuable life lessons and building a strong, diverse community.

“Right now there are no skate parks in Trenton and no indoor skate parks in the entire state of New Jersey,” added McNichol. “That means there is nowhere for kids and young adults to learn the valuable life lessons skating teaches and connect with their friends in a healthy, positive environment when it is too rainy, cold, or dark to skate outside.”

To address these issues, Freedom provides a free, indoor skate park in the center of downtown Trenton during the winter months, when it is most necessary. In addition to providing a space for skating, they also run board giveaways where they provide skateboarding equipment and peer mentoring for youth who may not be able to afford to skate otherwise, art shows, live music events, and girls and women’s skate meet-ups. 

Last winter the pilot program, featuring 12 events, attracted nearly 500 unique visitors with an average of almost 100 people attending each event. Given the tremendous success, the City of Trenton is teaming up with Freedom this year to run more events and extend the hours when the park is open.

“Given our track record and increased outreach plans, we are expecting at least 1,000 visitors to the park this year, with thousands more following along on social media,” noted McNichol.

Freedom’s indoor skateboarding programs allow more people to experience the benefits of skateboarding, enhance Trenton’s cultural landscape, and improve outcomes for at-risk youth by providing a public, indoor skate park where skaters of all skill levels and backgrounds can come together to practice their skills, form friendships, and learn from one another.

Freedom Skate is launching a community partnership program in an effort to support its expanded program. For more information, visit freedomnj.org, send an email to jake@freedomnj.org or call (609) 658-0648.