Loiza Skate Camp: Skateboarding for a cause in Puerto Rico

We wanted to offer our talents to the children and young adults in our community as well as learn about their skills. We want to teach them important values and become an example for them. As a goal, we wish to fill the void that many young people have in their hearts. Since we are young adults, like them, we want to use our actions to show them that nothing is impossible and that you only have to be proactive, have a vision, and an interest in what you do.

Have you received support from the community?
We have had some support but not a lot because only a few offer to help. Everything we have built has come out of our pockets. We are few but we are grateful to those parents and members of the community that have helped us and have been there through the process.

How do you feel when you see the kids enjoying themselves at camp?
I feel great! Especially when they don't want to leave jajaja It fills me with joy because I see how the little we teach them makes them wiser. This year we were only able to offer the summer camp for a week due to lack of funds. The last day I saw one of the girls crying because she wanted to continue for another week, it broke my heart. That moment taught me a lot because sometimes I think "What am I doing this for?" But then I see the kid's faces filled with joy, excitement, and a desire to learn and that gives me the strength to fight for our cause.

Tell us a bit about your family.
I thank God for my family. I thank my family for always being there, ;in the good and bad times; teaching me right from wrong, and setting a great example. Thanks to them I have been able to fight for what I want, and set being my best self as a goal. Both of my parents went to public schools, I am from a marginalized town, and thanks to them I have learned to overcome obstacles and not let anything stop me. I am thankful for all of the blessings God has given those people that have taught me so much.

Questions asked to the Younger Brother Jabes
How do you feel when teaching the kids how to skate?
It feels great, seeing how they first arrive here not even knowing how to balance themselves on a skateboard, and then in the blink of an eye they're up on a U ramp on their own. But more than anything it's great to see how much fun they have as they learn.

What do you admire about your brother?
Ever since he was a kid, he was always very confident and sure about the things he did. Thanks to him everything we've done has been seen. Ever since we created the Boneless Crew he told us to fight for Loiza's youth who have a lot of talent. He told us that we are all good, that we beed to show what we're made of while rescuing our traditions.

Do you feel that the skate camp has made a difference in the community?
Yes, the camp not only keeps kids off the streets, but helps them develop both physically and mentally.

Reporting live from Loiza
Arianna Cuesta

Photos by Arianna Cuesta