A Central Valley charity group teaches children to land on both feet in more ways than one.
Save Souls Skate Bowls receives donations and even uses some of its own funds to repair old skateboards and put new ones together to donate to children.
The group has donated 73 full skateboards so far, as well as parts, accessories and their time teaching children how to ride.
Carlos Carrasco, Erik Baus, Devin Dority and Charles Insco set out with their own ideas of giving back to the community and eventually banded together through their love for charity work and skateboarding.
“We were all just looking to give back and we all met each other and within months just got this thing going,” Baus said.
Carrasco’s 12-year-old daughter was feeling the effects of being in lockdown and told him she wanted to learn how to skateboard, not knowing her dad used to skateboard.
Neighborhood children saw Carrasco skateboarding with his daughter and were interested in what they were doing.
He put together a couple of skateboards for the children with some extra parts he had and started on his quest to find more and keep donating.
Baus and Dority were doing similar acts of charity, giving away helmets among other things at skateparks when the group found each other.
Carrasco said he found Baus and Dority on social media and thought they had to meet up.
“To hear all of Erik’s ideas and everything Devin had to say was amazing,” Carrasco said.
While Carrasco was told of Baus and Dority through a friend, Baus and Dority were told of Carrasco while they were distributing donations at a skatepark.
“[Carlos] was doing it for such a longer amount of time and he already had connections of getting donations. I thought it was a perfect way for us to partner up and really affect more than just my local skatepark,” Baus said.
Insco said that skateboarding is not in his background, personally, but charity work is. He met other members in the group through Dority.
“He kept trying to pull me in to meet these guys and I’m not a skater so I was like ‘man I’m not going to go fall on this ground,’ you know? Finally he got me to meet up with them so now I’m out there skateboarding too,” Insco said.
The importance of this charity work to these partners is not only giving children a good environment to be in, but teaching them the value of independence, being active, and learning perseverance.
“They’re active, they’re out, they’re getting exercise. They’re playing like kids. They’re learning things like falling and getting back up again and keep going, doing scary things like conquering fears,” Carrasco said.
Insco said that another reason skateboarding is beneficial to children is that you can do it with a group of friends and you can also do it by yourself, adding that people can skateboard year-round.
“You can go skate in your backyard, on a little piece of plywood, down the street, at the skatepark, anytime you want. With friends or without them you can have fun on a skateboard,” Insco said.
The group posts on their Facebook page as well as city Facebook groups to let people know where they will be skating each Sunday.
Sometimes they’ll meet other skaters and all skate together, and sometimes parents will bring their children and the group will help teach the children how to ride.
The group thinks their work is just as beneficial for them as it is for the children.
“To give a kid a skateboard and let them drop into the bowl, it’s rewarding to us. It’s almost a greedy thing in a sense, if you think about it. We benefit just as much as they do,” Insco said.
The group works with all donated parts and boards: new, old, and seemingly broken to put things together to give out on the weekends, or when needed.
“Someone might have a skateboard that’s just lying in the garage collecting dust that no one will ever use and that can change a kid’s life,” Carrasco said, adding that “Even if it’s old and beat up we will bring it back to life and give it to a kid who needs it.”
For more information about Save Souls Skate Bowls, find them on Facebook: Save Souls & Skate Bowls
Donation drop off locations are:
Yours and Mine Sports
416 N 9th St
Modesto CA 95350
920 S Cherokee Ln A
Lodi, CA 95242
224 N Ham Ln Suite #102
Lodi, CA 95242