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Hi everyone, 

Since this is a brand new space it can be a little confusing where to start, so I thought people might want to introduce themselves so we can get to know the people behind the usernames... 

So, a bit about me:

I'm the Goodpush Programs Manager with Skateistan, and one of the admins for this forum. I'm really interested and excited to see how people use this space, and am always open to ideas and feedback to make it more useful for you. Before I had this role, I spent five years working with Skateistan in Afghanistan and Cambodia, mostly in fundraising and communications,  but also getting to do a bit of everything (which I love).

I'm originally from Calgary, Canada, where I started skateboarding in 1997. I moved from Calgary to Vancouver to study Political Science and got to be a part of one of the best skate communities in the world, spending my days working at Antisocial Skateboard Shop. I did some work and volunteering at various non-profit organizations and was super stoked when I got accepted in 2010 to be one of Skateistan's first volunteers in Kabul. 

Aside from skateboarding and this whole skate charity movement I'm into motorbikes and books. Currently living in Berlin, and looking forward to catching up with a lot of people soon at Pushing Boarders in Malmo!

Comments

I'm Niall I'm the Development Volunteer at Skateistan. I've been skating since 2004 and studying Development since 2013.

I'm originally from Dublin, Ireland, but I've spent a lot of time overseas since then in Canada for a few years and most recently Berlin.

I love skateboarding and the power it has to empower people, to inspire creativity, or simply just have fun!

Apart from skateboarding, I love surfing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, swimming and cycling, and of course the environment!

Peace !

Hello!

I'm Talia, I've been working with Skateistan for 7 years mainly working in programs. I have a background in Education and International Development. My major professional interests are in sport for development and the use of community spaces for education purposes. I started skateboarding at 14 and I still can't kickflip but I love it anyways. I'm looking forward to connecting with more people doing innovative work in the skateboarding for youth development space. In the past I worked as a Community Educator for The Centre for Sexuality in my hometown of Calgary, Canada, teaching health with a feminist anti-oppressive framework. With Skateistan I've worked in Cambodia, Afghanistan, and South Africa. Ask me anything! 

Nice to meet you all in the plaza!

First and foremost I am a skateboarder. I love skateboarding and enjoy looking at the world through a skaters eyes. I first got a skateboard in 1980 and I have been enjoying rolling ever since that fateful day. 

I have an amazing job as the Executive Director of Skateistan which I founded in Afghanistan around 2008. I lived in Afghanistan 2007-2014 and I feel very grateful to have been able to have these experiences and learn so much on the job. I almost can't believe how much Skateistan has grown and I am very thankful to the hundreds of people that have contributed to Skateistan's success.

Without advice, encouragement and huge investments of time from people external to Skateistan we wouldn't be where we are today. I would love to continue this cycle of helping and pass on what I have learned so that other social skateboard projects can also grow.   

Personally, travelling, meeting new people and pushing my boundaries is what excites me.  I also enjoy reading, wild camping, cooking and riding motorbikes. Hit me up y'all.

 

Hi everyone!

I'm the Programs Director at the Tony Hawk Foundation, out of San Diego, California, USA. I don't remember ever not being a skateboarder and I love how it has introduced me to so many new experiences and opportunities. I am grateful to skateboarding for a host of essential reasons.

I'm also grateful to all of you here now, and those who will be joining us. It's profoundly encouraging to see so many passionate, thoughtful people dedicated to advancing this great cause... it's a good push, for sure.

I absolutely love skateboarding — as a design object, a toy, a vehicle, a tool, an identity, a subculture, a gathering point, a differentiator — and it is often the lens I rely on while pursuing my other passions; illustration, design, art, and architecture. (https://www.instagram.com/peterwhitley/)

 

 

Hello friends, Steve Wolfe here from New Jersey. I run a small organization called SOLID. We did our first skateboarding events back in 1999. We incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2002, and at the time - our focus was simply providing a place to skate and connect. Through the years, I reflected on my own experience as a skateboarder, I saw a unique connection between skateboarding and mentoring. To me - there's a vital connection. 

This has been my career since 2003. Our organization has evolved in so many ways through the years, and I'm excited to see how we continue to grow and change to serve skateboarders in New Jersey and the NYC tristate area. 

Personally, I'm married and have two daughters - currently 11 and 9 years old. Aside from skateboarding, I love just about anything that has to do with the outdoors and learning. Recently, I've been reading about wild foods/foraging, topics of leadership and personal growth, and different world religions.  I'm excited to be a part of this community and hope to make some new friends in the social sector of the skateboarding industry. "

So stoked to be a member. My name is Vaughan Smith-Neville. I was one of a handfull of founding members of the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition alongside Cory Macintire. In fact Kyle Dion was president for a term or two before he started NewLine and the rest was history.

It was right about that time that I had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan to live and teach English. Skateboard advocacy is in my blood so natually my desire to protect the interests of skateboarding and grow it never left me. I lived there for about 9 years, and in that time myself and a small group of like-minded local skaters started the government recognized Taichung Skateboarders' Association. The TSA.

While we constantly lobbied whoever would listen to stop building these non-skater, enormously expensive and inapropriatly designed janky steel frame XParks, we also set up a skate school which saw about 1000 kids graduate before we could no longer maintain the moble courses. At one point we even held a contest in the middle of an indoor shopping mall and built one of our halfpipes inside a dance club. I wish I could show the photos! 

In the last decade since then I've been laying low to raise my two boys...now aged 9 and 11, and have since moved back to Vancouver. 

However recent develpments surrounding new opportunities to build parks in Taiwan and the region have resparked a huge flame in me and my old Asian team. A decade has gone by and things have really matured, both our connections and our professionalism. I feel like this round will be like no other, and we will be much more successfull this time in finally bringing REAL skateparks and plazas to Taiwan and the rest of Asia! 

 

Wish us luck!

Hi everyone,

My name's Keegan Guizard, and I founded the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (@CSEF) with two others in 2017. We give college scholarships to skateboarders in the US. We just awarded our second round of scholarships this summer and collaborated with an architecture school in San Diego to award scholarships to three students there as well.

I'm honored to be in this group of socially responsible and hard working people, especially sharing time and ideas with some of you in Copenhagen at this week's Goodpush Alliance Meeting. I have experience working with kids (through skateboarding, of course) in America and abroad and am interested in doing more of that as well, so please consider me someone who's here to help for any of your orgs (or personally).

I'm from North Carolina and am currently living in Los Angeles, so that clues you in to my usual time zone.

I look forward to spending more time here and hearing about the great work everyone is doing.

Cheers!

 - Keegan

So cool to have a forum now!

I'm Nanja van Rijsse and I co-run Women Skate the World. Our goal is to inspire, empower and engage girls through skateboarding. I co-founded wstw together with Amber, who runs our first women's program and works together with FreemovementSB in Athens. My work (other than general organisational things) focusses on Amsterdam, where I will be launching our first program in September. 

Besides hosting programs for girls, we're happy to help out others when it comes to womxn skateboarding, volunteering and teaching. We're always available to give some input or advice on topics or help out women volunteers who want to travel somewhere, sharing our experiences. 

I started skateboarding two years ago and got addicted to it when it helped me deal with 'real-life' problems. Ever since I've been super excited to be part of this community and to spread the word about skateboarding. 

Other than skateboarding I'm passionate about politics, learning new things, reading books, visiting panel talks and so on. In the future I hope to study political science, but for now, I work a part-time side-job in a liquor store, while volunteering my way around Amsterdam. I just applied for a volunteer training program with an environmental organisation and had my first motorbike lesson last week haha, maybe we can visit each other's projects on bikes. 

Hi everyone,

My name is Troy Björkman and I work as the Development Director for Concrete Jungle Foundation (CJF). We're a UK-registered non-profit organisation that uses skateboarding as a tool to stimulate positive personal and community development for underprivileged youth around the world. More directly, we work with local partners to build skateparks and implement skateboarding-based programmes for marginalised communities around the Global South. We've had projects in Peru and Angola, and have a third one in Jamaica currently in the works. The programme in Angola is run independently by our local partner organisation, but in Peru we're constantly looking for volunteers to help out - so reach out if you're keen! 

A bit about myself: I  am Finnish by nationality, but was lucky enough to move around quite a bit as a child and young adult. I completed by Bachelors in Political Science & Development Studies in Montréal, Canada in 2017. Since then I've been working in the government & non-profit sector - while building up CJF part-time with three others. I just moved to Copenhagen to pursue by Masters at Copenhagen Business School, while continuing to work on CJF part-time. I'm interested to learn more about how to use market mechanisms (e.g. e-business, commercial partnerships, collaborations) to fund social skateboarding projects, as well as to support marginalised skateboarding communities more generally. 

Do feel free to reach out regarding anything and everything - I'm always down for a Skype chat. And let me know if you ever make your way up to the Nordics! You can find my contact details at concretejunglefoundation.org.

- Troy 

 

Hello, hello! 

My name is Thomas Barker, I live in Encinitas, California and I don't remember a time that skateboarding wasn't a part of my life.

I am one of the co-founders of CSEF (collegeskateboarding.com) and have been working in the skateboard industry for over 20 years, most recently as the Executive Director of the International Association of Skateboard Companies. After working in roles at Clive Backpacks and Black Box Distribution I went back to school when the recession hit in 2008. Sensing that non-profits would play a larger role in the future of skateboarding and wanting to give back to skateboarding as much as it has given to me, I got my Professional Degrees in Non-Profit Business Management and Fundraising/Development from UCSD Extension. 

I have two main advocacy focuses, first is on people who already consider themselves "skateboarders", using the marketing tactics I learned in the skateboard industry to reach skateboarders and influence them to take a more positive direction in their life. My second focus is helping the skateboarding non-profit social movement, mature and professionalize. I am happy to share my knowledge, experience and tools to help your organizations. 

It was amazing to meet everyone at the Good Push event last week. Even though I've been in the skateboarding industry/community for so long, it was not until Pushing Boarders and the Good Push events that I felt like I found the part of the skateboard community I could just be myself in.

If I didn't meet you last week, nice to e-meet you here! 

Thank you to everyone at the Good Push for creating this space! 

Talk soon, 

 

tCb 

 

 

Hi All,

My name is John Rattray. I started out in Aberdeen, Scotland, where I saw skateboarding for the first time when I was nine. I was walking along Rosemount Viaduct next to Union Terrace Gardens holding hands with my mum — because I was nine — and two bigger boys in flannel shirts and jeans went tearing across the street, ollied up onto the median, acid dropped onto the other carriageway and kept on pushing. One of them was even wearing a biker's leather jacket. It was the raddest thing I'd seen in person at that point. Aberdeen had been a town designed in greyscale and school uniforms up until then. I remember my eyes going wide, my mouth opening as I pointed, "They didn't have to stop!" The kerb had no effect on them. It was like kerbs with, all their authority, could save it. The safe boundary kerbs were supposed to delineate was no more. My world view had drastically changed.

A lot has changed since then. Along the way I went to university, studied maths and physics, had a decent career as a pro-skater, raveled a lot, forgot a lot of the maths and physics, worked at a couple of companies who make skate shoes, got married, studied some more stuff, had a kid, had a couple of nervous breakdowns, lost family and friends to unnecessary tragedy...

Now I work at Nike Skateboarding and in my free time I tend to ride bikes, read as much as I can about as much as I can, sharpen my negotiation skills by debating sugary treats and video games with Ivor, our six-year-old. I also try to raise funds and awareness around the subject of emotional or mental health, currently through a project called "Why So Sad?" I'd like to learn more so that I can try to simplify and share more and hopefully help more people.

I am really happy to see this community of like-minded people connected by skateboarding taking off and I'm excited to see what we can do as a collective. Thank you for starting this.

Hi everyone,

It's really cool to be here in this space with such rad people who are doing similar work all over the world!  

I'm Susie Halsell, from California, U.S.A., founder of Bangladesh Street Kids Aid (BSKA).

I've been skating since I was 12, was the only girl-skater in my town but the boy crew I skated with just treated me like one of the guys.  Ever since I started skating, I thought it would be a great way to empower impoverished youth.  I imagined myself teaching shoe-less kids on concrete slabs surrounded by greenery.  Very much what I actually ended up doing!  In 2007, my first trip to Bangladesh as just a 21 year old skater/surfer blew my mind.  I saw the kids walking the street collecting recyclables, sleeping on piles of trash, huffing glue, cuts all over their forearms, all that gnarly stuff.  Ever since, I have wanted to create a safe-haven for the children of Bangladesh who call the streets their home.  The reaction of the youth in Bangladesh to skateboarding was out-of-control.  They were so excited to try my skateboard wherever I went that I hardly got to skate the first few years I was in Bangladesh trying to figure everything out: learn the language, find land, etc.  Through all my experiences over the past 12 years making trips back and forth between the U.S. and Bangladesh, I realized that a lack of education was the root cause of a lot of the socio-economic barriers that street children and other marginalized groups in Bangladesh face.  It was obvious that skateboarding was a great way to boost their confidence, but I realized that combining skate and creative arts opportunities with a quality education would launch them into a much more hopeful future.  

I ended up pursuing my own higher education, studied Anthropoloy at BRAC University and the Bangla language in Bangladesh and took a Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Business and Entrepreneurship from Antioch University Santa Barbara.  I'm one of those life-long learners and am currently studying Social Business at California State University Channel Islands.  

Just before the beginning of this summer, I was feeling pretty down about my project in Bangladesh even though things always seemed to be moving forward.  I'd invested a lot of my own time and money for so long but felt like no one believed in what BSKA is doing like I did.  After getting the Goodpush partnership, I finally feel like I found the support system I needed to just go for it full force.  I am very grateful for this platform and can't wait to see the collaboration and knowledge sharing that goes on once we all get to know each other a bit better!

I was looking forward to skating with a lot of you at the upcoming Goodpush summit in South Africa, but I broke my tibia and fibula on my left ankle earlier this month during a ledge session.  I'll still be giving a presentation on BKSA's current programs for street youth in Bangladesh and our plans to open a skate park, off-the-grid boarding school, and permaculture farm on the land we were graciously donated.  I'll be the one with the crutches or hopefully cane by then!

Much love, peace, and all that good stoke!

Welcome everyone! It's great to see so many faces signing up for the forum - both new and familiar ones!

What do you all hope this community can become? 

I'm excited for the new topic thread we just added: Skatepark Design & Urban Planning

For my part, I hope this provides a space to build new connections and share resources, to lighten the work, make us more effective and create new exciting projects. 

Talia