By Alejandro Musa
The Getaboard Foundation has been working with homeless and at-risk youth in Orlando for close to a decade. They introduce kids to healthy lifestyles and creative outlets through their skate clinics, which provide skateboarding lessons in a playful manner that engages youth and opens up their hearts to learning. The program seeks to inspire change by teaching the importance of hard work, and connecting action sports to educational opportunities.
Their ongoing program is made possible by a network of local skateshops and skateboarders who donate skate parts which are later upcycled and used at the clinics. The clinics are attended by boys and girls alike, using interactive Montessori-style teaching techniques to show the students how the basic principles of science, technology, engineering and mathematics used to ride a skateboard.
Getaboard hopes to spark interest in STEM-focused careers by demonstrating how science and learning can be fun and used creatively in their lives. Careers in the STEM field are the fastest growing and highest paying in the United States, and exposing children at an early age to STEM related activities may allow them to realize a passion and future career option that may bridge the gap out of the cycle of poverty. At the end of the program, Getaboard participants are given the opportunity to take home the skateboards by passing an assessment which measures what they have learned.
Getaboard’s mission is to “Empower at-risk youth through action sports, art, and education.”
Getaboard has graduated over 200 skaters per year and involves dozens of loyal volunteers and interns that make it possible to fulfill their mission to inspire the youth of Orlando to pursue STEM careers through action sports.
The biggest challenge to helping these children is the housing insecurity they face. Most of the participating youth and their families are very transient, making it more likely that the students will not finish the skate program in its entirety. It is also difficult to maintain communication with the participants and collect data in order to implement and conduct new programs over a longer period of time and track long term success.
Getaboard's goals are to grow the program throughout Orlando and work with more local public elementary and middle schools in order to reach more kids.
Through its community outreach programming, Getaboard Foundation is aligned with SDG #1-No Poverty, SDG #3- Good Health and Well Being, SDG #4- Quality Education, SDG #5- Gender Equality, and SDG #8- Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Keep up with the Getaboard crew by liking their Facebook or Instagram pages. Volunteer opportunities are available on their website.