♪ Music ♪ Narrator: When you
think of a skateboarder, what do you think of? A hooligan? A troublemaker? Well, a movement that
began in Lincoln, called Skate for Change, is
changing not only the way skateboarders are seen
by their communities, but more importantly, changing
the lives of the homeless. Mike: Skate for change is
an opportunity for those kids to prove people wrong. You know it’s great to see 40
skaters skating downtown and watch business owners
wonder what’s going on, and those 40 kids stop at a
street corner and give socks and a blanket to a homeless person. That’s changing perspective
changing the way people think about young skateboarders. Ian: “It’s a lot more than
skating around downtown. Trevor: I just believe
that Skate For Change means helping the
unfortunate and helping those that need our help. Dawson: “It feels better
to give than to receive. Narrator: Mike Smith’s love for
skateboarding began at a young age in Imperial, Nebraska,
and it never left him. Mike: We just kind of
had to create our own fun and come up with whatever we can do to stay out of trouble, so we sort of did everything. Narrator: While playing college
basketball at Grace University in Omaha, Mike developed
a need to give back, he fulfilled that need
through community outreach. Mike: I started
at Campus Life. I Knew I wanted to work with
youth I didn’t know at what capacity or how that
was going to work out, but I’ve ha d a lot of great
adults help me kind of make in life, so that is why I felt
I had an opportunity to turn around and do the same thing
for a lot of young people in Lincoln and in Omaha. Narrator: Mike’s passions for
outreach and skateboarding were beginning to merge. Mike: I got a phone call
like 4 years ago there was a skate park here in Lincoln and
the executive director called me, and basically like hey
our skate park is closing down if you want our ramps
you can have them and he said you have to keep them
in Lincoln and do something positive for the kids, and
that’s what got my mind going. Hey maybe I can create something
really cool in Lincoln involving skate boarding and potential
outreach or whatever. Narrator: When Mike
moved to Lincoln, he brought skateboarding
and outreach together. Mike: Skate for Change completely was an accident. Every Tuesday I would skate around by myself and hand out food and water and socks and hygiene kits and stuff to the homeless guy that where on street corners and a buddy saw me and it was kind of me and
him we would skate around and a couple more and a couple more
it just kind of keep growing. You show up on a Tuesdays to go
do skate for change and there would be like 40 people wanting
to go and be a part of this. Kids would show up with their
socks their own shirts their own clothing to give it away. It is when I started to see this I started to realize these kids have a lot of power and a lot of potential to do something big. Narrator: Today this Lincoln
skate park, called the Bay, reflects growth not only in
Mike’s skateboarding passion, but growth in his
mission to give back. Dawson: One day I was just
skating at the bay and then some guys was telling me about it and saying hey lets go give some food and water and stuff
to homeless people and I said that sounds like fun. And I just loved it ever since. Narrator: After Skate for
Change exploded in Lincoln, chapters began to pop up
all across the country, and even into Canada. Mike: We’ve grown to Detroit and
Seattle, Chicago , Kansas city, Denver it’s pretty crazy to see
but because of the Internet kids, kids will see
what where doing and realize that it’s not hard. You know this is not a hard concept it’s pretty simple you get stuff and you go give
it away and just build relationships while
you’re doing it. Narrator: Relationships
that those giving, and those receiving,
will always remember. Mike: Two years ago It was a
really warm thanksgiving and the day before thanksgiving our
whole crew went down underneath the bridge and just kind of
spent time with the guys. One of the kids asks what are
you doing for thanksgiving? All the guys said we
will probably just spend it right here. When we skated off the kid
told me he wanted to have a thanksgiving meal underneath
bridge with these guys and ask if we could help. So everybody started putting it
on their Facebook and Twitter and 12 hours later we had like
5 turkeys and mash potatoes and food the entire thing. It was like 20
something skate kids, 40 to 50 to 60 homeless guys all
came together under this bridge on Thanksgiving Day. This was my wife’s and
I first thanksgiving, and it was like a lot of these
kids spent thanksgiving day down underneath this bridge
with these guys. That to me was one of the most
special skate for change moments seeing it was an idea a kid
had watching that whole thing play out was pretty cool. Narrator: As the movement grows,
and moments like this are created nationwide, Mike
hopes to quietly fade out of the spotlight. Mike: I would love to see
skate for change happen all over the world. No one wouldn’t even know where it started or who I was or how they even got a part
of the skate crew that to me is the end game. Narrator: But as for the
Lincoln Skate for Change crew, they know exactly who to credit. Trevor: Mike, Mike Smith he
help me a lot with it, really great guy. Ian: I’ve had a different
outlook on like people downtown. Dawson: Through skate
for change I learned to be more thankful for things. And not taking
thing for granted. Cause a lot of those
people are like…. How happy they are when
they have almost nothing. It’s really inspiring. Narrator: So maybe now, you’ll
want to ask yourself again, when you think of
a skateboarder,
what do you think of?

Skate for Change | Nebraska Stories
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8 thoughts on “Skate for Change | Nebraska Stories

  • June 3, 2013 at 7:08 am

    Getting it started in New York man. keep it up! your movement is spreading and making a difference

  • September 30, 2013 at 3:45 am

    This is awesome since I am from Nebraska too it changed the way I look at skateboarding it's my life now

  • October 22, 2013 at 4:12 am

    He came and talked to MTHS today, he's actually a super sweet guy!

  • January 24, 2014 at 2:30 am

    He just came to my school. Really loved his speech. To bad that people in my school don't get the message.

  • March 1, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    He came to my School And IT was cool because I skate

  • March 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Glacier peek high school

  • November 27, 2014 at 11:10 am

    You guys are seriously a huge inspiration. I've been following Skate 4 Cancer for years and now this! I've been skating for over a decade and it brings me happiness even though I've been doing it alone lately. You have all my support!

  • May 10, 2015 at 12:35 am

    He has got us in Arkansas doing this 🙂


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