Sean Brown in Commercial Alley downtown Victoria with some of the skateboards and wheels donated for his Youth on Board project, which will see him put boards together to be passed on to local youth. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Getting youth at risk on skateboards is a passion project for Victoria man

Former skateboarder rallies community to collect equipment for street youth

Having lived experience as a street-entrenched youth in Alberta, Sean Brown knows well how healthy activities can change a young person’s outlook on life.

As a former skateboarder and a current volunteer helping people in need in Victoria, he’s aware of the interest level among youth in skateboarding, both the competitive element and the recreational activity.

Looking for a way to give back and help local street youth, he came up with Youth on Board. Not only is he gathering and assembling skateboards, longboards and related equipment to be donated to young people, he set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to purchase more equipment.

ALSO READ: Victoria youth-led housing project promotes security, opportunity

“I believe in starting with youth,” Brown said. “I could help adults, but youth are important. I believe if you can change someone’s life at the beginning, it can last a lifetime.”

Early response to his idea has been positive.

He has begun building relationships with local board shops, Artavi and Goodnews, who have helped get the program off the ground. Plus, a new Facebook group, currently under Brown’s name, spreads the word about the program’s needs and objectives and gives youth a venue to share their excitement about boarding.

Brown, who also has surfing experience, hopes to make connections with downtown service providers supporting youth, as a way to broaden the reach of the program.

He sees Youth on Board as potentially filling a niche in services for youth. Looking back on his own experience, he said, “I wished that I had somebody or an organization that would help and do that for people.”

ALSO READ: Victoria’s skateboarding community raises $18,000 for BIPOC counselling

To donate equipment email seanisascientist@gmail.com, call or text 250-580-5409, or drop it off at the front door at Anawim House, 973 Caledonia Ave.

Cash donations can be made online at bit.ly/3c2y5vv.

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