On a recent sunny afternoon on the back patio of Arvada’s New Image Brewing, a skater named Azamat sipped a cold beverage and built skateboards to donate to underserved youth at Lawrence Elementary …
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On a recent sunny afternoon on the back patio of Arvada’s New Image Brewing, a skater named Azamat sipped a cold beverage and built skateboards to donate to underserved youth at Lawrence Elementary School in Arvada.
The volunteer event was organized by Can’d Aid, a nonprofit that rallies volunteers from all walks of life to distribute water, provide access and opportunities for underserved youth to experience music, arts and the outdoors; and protect and restore the environment. They like to call it spreading Do-Goodery.
Abbi Arneson, Program Coordinator, Can’d Aid, said 81 new skateboards would be donated from the event, part of their Treads and Trails program that encourages kids to get outside and lead healthy, active lifestyles.
She said skateboards and bikes (which they also regularly donate) are great tools, not just for getting kids outside, but also for helping them better their mental, emotional and physical health.
“We rally volunteers in public spaces to help us build the skateboards and bikes,” she said. “So, it’s a full-circle type of event where we have volunteers building them, plus people love to volunteer — get out and do good in their own communities, and it goes to benefit youth in their own neighborhoods.”
She said a lot of the folks helping out are repeat volunteers. They also attract a lot of interest and reach volunteers through social media.
Arneson said most of the donations go to Title One schools, and they do bike and skateboard events pretty much every month of the year, although not always in Colorado. Can’d Aid does events across the nation.
Jennifer Lockhart works for SM Energy. She heard about the event through a volunteer group at her office. This was her first time building a skateboard. She said it was the perfect way to give back to the community and spend a fun afternoon with her sons, Cameren and Noa.
A few tables away, Madison and Joe Carpenter are busy applying grip tape to skateboard decks. Madison said she’s been skating since she bought herself a longboard for her birthday when she was 12. You can tell by watching her, it’s not her first time building a board.
“I have one at home that has purple grip tape — I’ve painted my own board before,” she says.
Joe Carpenter said the opportunity to do some good brought him out more than the skateboards.
“I don’t seem to have the coordination for skateboards, I’m more of a bicycle guy,” he said. “I remember when I first tried riding one a long time ago when they had the really hard wheels — the smallest pebble would send you flying,” he said with a chuckle.
According to a Can’d Aid press release, they’ve donated more than 2,000 bikes and skateboards nationally to students in the past year.
“At a time when our nation’s youth are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety, depression and mental health issues, Can’d Aid’s programs provide healthy and active outlets for underserved and at-risk children across the country,” it read.
More information and a list of upcoming projects is available at www.candaid.org.
So, to recap, there is a way to sit on a sunny patio, drink a craft brew or beverage of your choice, build a skateboard or put together a bicycle with other cool, like-minded people and have your work donated to kids in need, most likely in your own community.
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