Photos courtesy: Tyler Grove for Red Bull
_We all know the impact that skateboarding can have on people’s lives. Red Bull, Ryan Sheckler, and 16 students from across the United States took action to help improve the quality of life of young people in Costa Rica by traveling there to revitalize a skatepark. We spoke to two of the students, Anna Lewis and Mishari Aleisa, to get a first-hand account of their experience there. As always, actions speak louder than words. _
Why did you choose to build a skatepark?
Anna: Before our team arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica there were only a few skateparks in the capital city—a place where skating is not only a popular sport, but a culture. The city was in need of an outdoor skatepark. By building Luzo Skatepark, it gives these skaters a place to participate in action sports and grows an already thriving Costa Rican skating culture.
Mishari: We wanted to share something we love with a community that doesn’t have the resources to build something we usually take for granted. We had a very limited amount of time on the trip. Building a park has a huge impact compared to the relatively short assembly time. Thanks to Graham at American Ramp Company—who donated the entire—park, the construction process didn’t take very long!
How do you think the skatepark will impact the community?
Anna: For kids who are getting into trouble or have problems at home, this skatepark can be a positive outlet and environment. It gives students a place to go and something to do after school. Choosing to skate, kids are able to connect with others, stay safe, be active, and have fun! The purpose of our journey was to make a social impact, I believe that the construction of the skatepark did just that. Not only has it positively impacted the current community, but will continue to for generations because of its sustainable materials.
Mishari: The park we built will be there for at least 50 years. Future generations will have a safe and public skatepark in their town with an amazing, welcoming community (San Rafael Extremo)! Skateboarding will be more available to the community—providing a perfect positive outlet for everyone.
What was the most rewarding part of the experience?
Anna: The most rewarding part of the experience was witnessing the reactions of the community members when the park was completed. Watching the Costa Rican boys and girls skate on the brand new half pipe and play basketball on the freshly painted court that we helped build was definitely my favorite memory.
Mishari: Being able to share the most important thing in my life to others. I teach skateboarding at a middle school, and have my wax company Rip Balm—so skateboarding is basically my life. This trip was the perfect opportunity to help share the love. The community was so welcoming, and they were beyond stoked for us to show up, hang out, and build the park. I am so grateful for the San Rafael community, DivertCity, American Ramp Company, Glasswing International, Journey, and Red Bull for making this happen and bringing me along on the trip.