For many families, educational and recreational options for their children are severely limited by their financial circumstances. Childhood possessions such as books or skateboards are often out of reach financially. Sometimes, having a skateboard and a book to call their own can create happiness out of despair, cause inspiration in a place of discouragement, spark imagination in the wake of harsh reality and offer an escape when it is needed the most.
Since 2015, Boards for Bros and Bess the Book Bus have been working together to give the combined gifts of reading and skateboarding to underserved youth in Tampa Bay. Hitting the road and reaching kids in their neighborhoods, these two nonprofits have found that working together has a dramatic and lasting impact on the kids lives.
When we roll up, some kids are excited about the books and some kids only want to try the skateboards but by the time we are finishing up, the area is filled with kids on their skateboards and holding on tight to their books (we often have to remind the kids to sit down and read for safety reasons).
The combination of our vans, our donations and our amazing volunteers create an environment of fun, joy and active learning. Our Books and Boards events are fantastic opportunities to reach out to kids who often feel isolated and give them a chance to learn and grow in a supportive environment.
Using an extensive network of collection centers, Boards for Bros gathers donations of new and gently used skateboard components and purchases the missing parts from our industry partners at deep discounts (we often purchase trucks, bearings and hardware). For approximately $22, our volunteers can assemble a high quality, durable complete skateboard.
A $10,000 grant would allow Boards for Bros to join Bess the Book Bus on an East Coast Tour bringing our Books and Boards events to the youth of Baltimore, MD, Camden, NJ and Asbury Park, NJ.
$400 in fuel costs
$5,280 to purchase skateboard supplies to build 240 complete skateboards (80 skateboards per city)
$2,880 to purchase helmets to distribute with the skateboards
$100 in art supplies and stencils to allow the children to decorate their boards and put their names in their books. We will use local art teachers and special guests to work on the art projects with the kids.
$1,340 to receive 2,970 books (to give away approximately 990 books per city at a combination of the Books and Board events and drop-offs at youth-centered nonprofits)
Every effort will be made to gather further in-kind-donations to allow for local guest artists, musicians, pro skateboarders and other supporters to join us in our events and make them extra special happenings. Your support will allow us to take an extremely successful, Tampa-based model and share our gifts with other communities. It is our goal to plant the seed for ongoing, local Books and Boards events in each of these cities.
Thank you for helping us change lives, one book, one skateboard at a time.