Skateboarding has always been a passion for 2010 OSI-Baltimore fellow, Stephanie Murdock. While working with young skaters, she began to notice that skateboarding played a major role in their day to day lives by keeping them in school, in shape and off the street. After receiving her fellowship, Murdock launched “Skateboarding for Success,” an afterschool and weekend program for at-risk youth in the Hampden neighborhood.
Through “Skateboarding for Success,” local youth have a safe place to skateboard while receiving a number of supports and services. Mentoring, lessons, leadership development and academic support are just a few of the resources available to youth involved in the program. They are also learning advocacy skills by being involved in the development of a skate park in their neighborhood, which Murdock says is keeping them engaged and out of trouble.
Murdock hopes that through the changes she’s seen in the youth involved, city residents will see the need for more public skateparks and the great impact they can have on the development of youth.
“A lot of these students are more than skateboarders,” Murdock says. “They are also artists and musicians and want to be engaged in a multitude of activities. They just need a space where they can do these things and just be themselves. “
As she continues her fellowship, Murdock hopes to secure more funding to sustain and expand her program, and is looking forward to seeing her students successfully transition from youth to adults.
“I want to connect younger skaters with older ones, so they can see there are role models and people to look up to,” she says.