Since October 2016, KYCC has partnered with STOKED Mentoring to encourage youth character development through action sports. The program serves middle through high school-aged youth, exposing them to an array of outdoor physical activities year-round.

This joint KYCC-STOKED program facilitates skateboarding in the spring and fall, snowboarding in the winter and surfing in the summer. One of the program’s main objectives is to expose the kids to new experiences—all but one of the participants had never seen snow and none of them had ever surfed before.

Around 14 youth from disadvantaged families attend the program, which meets on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and during the weekend for outing adventures. KYCC’s partnership with STOKED was partially funded by the KYCC’s 2016 Annual Appeal.

“Through STOKED, KYCC youth get to build their own skateboard, go places they never had the opportunity to go and meet mentors and other youth that they wouldn’t have met before,” Senior Manager of Children and Family Services Ernie Yoshikawa said. “The experiences definitely teach them about the importance of persistence: Even when you fall, learning to get up again and not get discouraged is how character is developed.”

Established originally in New York, STOKED seeks to minimize the opportunity gap between socioeconomic classes by creating prospects for new experiences and a strong sense of community to inspire children from low-income families.