Vans Gives Back Day X Boards For Bros 2019 Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Vans Gives Back Day X Boards For Bros 2019

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by Chris

Back in 2012, Vans Gives Back Day started as a way for Vans employees to exercise their “Van Doren Spirit” - getting out into the community, connecting with those in need and making the world a better place through service projects. For three years in a row, Boards for Bros has partnered with Vans to bring the gift of skateboarding to those who need it in their lives. On September 27, we took Luther Burbank Middle School (LBMS) in Los Angeles by storm as we worked with over 60 Vans volunteers to teach over 250 sixth, seventh and eighth graders how to build a skateboard and skate like a pro!

Our journey to LBMS started in 2018 when our Boards for Bros California crew connected with Ms. Henree Haitkin who had a vision to incorporate skateboarding into her P.E. curriculum. She wanted to get her kids moving, learning, having fun and learning something they can participate in outside of school. Thanks to the support of her principal, Ms. Christine Moore and Boards for Bros - Ms. Haitkin was able to get herself skating and saw immediately that her students were totally on board with her plan! Looking to grow her program, she needed more boards so Vans and Boards for Bros wanted to help her out. At the end of the day, 104 boards were built and over 250 skate lessons were given. LBMS now has the equipment they need for their groundbreaking program and we have made friends that we will have for a very long time.

Huge thanks to Sarah Turner and Tony Bertolino (Vans HQ/Boards for Bros California), Ryan Vanderweel (Grinderz Restaurant/Boards for Bros California), Kurtis Colamonico and The Skate Kids, Ms. Henree Haitkin and the staff, students, and parents of LBMS and to all the Vans employees who put in a long day of service making a community a better place through the gift of skateboarding. It was a perfect day of changing lives (of volunteers and recipients), one day at a time.

Words & photos: Michelle Box
Nothing like an unscheduled demo when the students and staff gathered in between periods to check out what we were setting up! Thanks to Luther Burbank Middle School for having a beautiful, smooth basketball playground for us to skate!
We had three groups of over 80 students come though. Each group got some background on what we do and then went off to build skateboards and get lessons (the white caps are to keep the loaner helmets clean with all the sweating going on).
Learning to build a skateboard gives kids the ability to maintain and upgrade components of their boards. We want them to have everything they need for a lifetime of skating. Thanks to the Vans volunteers for guiding the newbies through the experience.
Gearing up gives volunteers an opportunity to chat and get to know these amazing kids and helps make it a memorable day for everyone.
Some kids need one-on-one help, others want to be left alone to figure things out. These girls were pushing and gaining confidence by the minute.
Ryan Vanderweel giving some hands-on help to a new friend. Ryan is part of the Boards for Bros California Ambassador team. Check out and support his restaurant Grinderz in Huntington Beach right beside the Vans Off the Wall Skatepark. It serves as Boards for Bros California HQ!
Everyone who came through tried to skate. Sometimes kids were reluctant to try but with some encouragement from people like Suzanne from Vans, every kid was able to find a comfort zone and give skating a try.
Chopper Dave killed it all day chatting, skating and teaching. He made sure the kids had a blast and fell in love with skateboarding.
Kurtis Colemonico and his Skate Kids crew shredded all day and were happy to get to hang with Ms. Henree Haitkin - the teacher that started this whole thing!
This is just 1/3 of the students we worked with on our super busy day.
This is just 1/3 of the students we worked with on our super busy day.


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