Jacob McKee cruised through the other campers with the perfect combination of speed and agility. The craft skateboarder dodged danger with a smile on his face.
“It started when I was three,” he said while perched on a bench high above the SkatePark of Tampa’s main skating floor.
He’s not alone. Dozens of campers dressed in helmets and knee pads ripped across ramps in Tampa Monday morning. They all sported a board that was special to them.
They’re the lucky ones.
“Never know until you try it”,” said Sam Bellipanni as he helped assemble a refurbished skateboard. “Sometimes you don’t even get a chance to try it unless you have the right means necessary.”
SkatePark of Tampa has been building skateboards for underprivileged kids across the nation since 2006. They call the program Boards For Bros.
“We’re totally committed to making sure every kid in Tampa Bay who wants to skateboard can skateboard,” said Michelle Box, Boards For Bros’ executive director.
SkatePark of Tampa is a national finalist for the Sheckler Foundation’s $10,000 grant. That money would be used to build more boards and deliver books to kids in underserved areas, another mission of Box’s.
“We’re in the running and we’re really excited because it will allow us to take books and skateboards to some of the poorest communities outside Tampa Bay,” she said. “Any money in our pocket allows us to do more and more across the country.”