Fresno organization donates skateboards, safety equipment to Native American youth

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In honor of National Skateboarding Day, state prison officials are highlighting a unique partnership that benefits local kids.

For the past three years, the founder of Fresno Skateboard Salvage has worked with the prisons in Avenal, Corcoran, and Chowchilla to allow incarcerated artists to paint skateboard decks. The decks are auctioned off to fund a program that provides skateboards and safety equipment for children.

Tuesday, kids from the Fresno American Indian Health Project Clubhouse youth program were able to pick out their own boards, donated by the organization.

Staff from Skateboard Salvage also taught them about skateboard safety and some basic skills.

"That's just cool," said 12-year-old Rikki Keohavong.

"I like it," said 12-year-old Alfred "Harlon" Turner.

The Health Project's Clubhouse Youth program manager said they want to keep kids active this summer. He hopes the new boards and lessons show them one way to have fun.

"Giving them an opportunity to participate in something that's positive," said Ruben Garcia. "Rather than them being places they shouldn't be, or not as safe as it would be for them to be out here skateboarding with the community."

Rikki and Harlon said they'll be hitting the asphalt with their new boards, which is not what they originally had planned this summer.

The president of Fresno Skateboard Salvage said he donates a lot of boards to Valley youth, and the happiness he feels after giving back never gets old.

"Usually I drive home crying from every one of these," said Rodney Rodriguez. "I'm amazed, impressed and grateful we can do all this."

The kids also got their new boards just in time for an event on Saturday. Fresno City College will host its Indigenous Arts Expo, where the kids will be able to skate with professionals from The Apache Skate Team.

If you're interested in learning more about how to get involved with Fresno Skateboard Salvage, visit the website.
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