A community activist wants to unite Brooklynites with skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding.
With a $10,000 grant she won from the TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Program, Boerum Hill resident Jillian Rubio is creating an action sports mentoring program in partnership with Stoked Mentoring, which operates similar programs in the city.
“It’s a really exciting organization and I really feel like the work that they’re doing reaches urban youth in a unique way. It’s exciting to partner with them,” said Rubio, who is the director of the Prospect Park Audubon Center.
Currently in the planning stages, Rubio’s program will launch next spring. This winter, Rubio will begin recruitment efforts for youths interested in participating and adults who will serve as mentors.
Recruitment efforts will target residents of neighborhoods around Prospect Park, particularly Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
“I specifically want to focus on the east end side of the park since the Audubon Center is on the east side of the park,” Rubio explained.
The program will maintain two components — athletic and environmental.
For the athletic aspect, youths and their adult mentors will participate in action sports, particularly skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. Beginners are welcome, since the goal of the program is for adults and youths to learn the sports together, thereby forming friendships.
The program’s environmental component will consist of educational workshops held in the Prospect Park Audubon Center and, possibly, park clean-ups.
“We want to give both the youths and mentors in the program an opportunity to learn more about the natural environment,” Rubio said. “Here at Prospect Park, we have the only forest in Brooklyn and we have the largest freshwater lake.”
Going green will also be incorporated into the athletic activities.
“The opportunity for engagement with the environment is happening when you’re out snowboarding or surfing. You are able to learn about the environment that you’re in,” Rubio said. “We’re looking for ways to expand the knowledge of the mentor and mentee.”
“It’s exciting,” Rubio continued. “The youths can really connect one on one with another individual who can give them life skills.”