Skateboards twist in midair, landing with a crash. Smiles, hollers and 400 youth fill the space each month, an old ware-house across from Tacoma’s popular Opera Alley. Welcome to Alchemy Skateboarding & Education Center. It’s so much more than meets the eye.
Alchemy Skateboarding is a nonprofit dedicated to “providing opportunities for youth to learn and grow through skate-boarding.” The mission shapes athletic programs, mentoring, experiential learning opportunities, a leadership training program, safe drop-in facility and Go Skate Tacoma, an annual citywide celebration. Alchemy even teaches courses in three high schools in the Tacoma School District.
“A skateboarder will crash and fail 100 times before they get a trick done well. They are very tenacious,” said Ben Warner, executive director. “They believe if they keep on working, they’ll get it right. They are innovative and brilliant. We just try to teach them the words and give them an authentic mirror so they can see who they really are.”
This resiliency and persistence is channeled into empowering youth to engage civically, participating in the community to create positive change.
The vision for Alchemy began in 2009 when a small team, led by Warner, em-barked on a trek to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs by longboarding across the country. The team skated from coast to coast, visiting clubs along the way to benefit youth participants.
This transformative journey developed their awareness of the power of skateboarding. From urban centers to desert villages, the team witnessed the unique power of skateboarding and its ability to build strength and confidence in youth.
Need a gift for that hard-to-shop-for teen? How about personal skateboarding lessons? Looking for a unique way to celebrate a birthday? Rent Alchemy’s indoor park for the party. All proceeds benefit the youth program, where no child is turned away. Be the “cool” relative and give a gift that gives back to at-risk youth.
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