Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora joined a team of volunteers at Freedom Skate Park on Saturday, November 23 to provide free skateboards and lessons on the basics of skating to a group of 30 at-risk youth from the Trenton area. Freedom organized the event in partnership with HomeFront to give youth who might not otherwise be able to afford skateboard equipment an opportunity to skate and get a board of their own. Saturday’s event was the first of four “Grom-A-Rama” board giveaways the organization has planned as part of its Trenton Winter Skateboarding Program, which provides the only skate park in Trenton and the only indoor skate park in the state of New Jersey.
“The Freedom team teaches them important life lessons about thinking creatively, setting goals, and following through on those goals. But we’re also giving kids the chance to do something fun. We’re putting 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 to take home means they’ll be able to keep practicing and share our lessons with their friends.”
Currently, there are no skate parks in Trenton and no 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 service at-risk youth to run monthly “Grom-A-Rama” board giveaways.
Drawing their name from the term “grom,” which is skateboard slang for a young skater, these events empower young people to have confidence in their own ideas and welcome them into the skate community while providing equipment for youth who may not be able to afford it. Saturday’s event brought a group of 30 youth participating in HomeFront programs to the park for small group instruction as well as supervised free skate. At the end of the event, every child who participated took home their very own skateboard.
“Skateboarding is a unique activity that teaches crucial life lessons that have benefits far beyond the skate park. 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 teaches young people to think outside the box, set goals for themselves, and follow through,” said Jake McNichol, Founder and Executive Director of Freedom. “Working together with the City of Trenton, HomeFront, and so many passionate volunteers to give 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 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. We are so thankful for Mayor Gusciora’s support and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the City to keep growing Trenton’s skateboard scene.”