As an emerging grassroots organization, Ubuntu Community Collective is proud to have reached its 2 year milestone of delivering holistic programming to support the needs of African-descended solo mothers. It was now time to engage the children of the mothers they serve because COVID-19 was a very challenging and tough year for everyone!
Our children need more social interaction in a community setting, more physical and creative activities, more time in nature, and more opportunities to improve their mental health. We want our children to heal from trauma and we want to increase access to safe skateboarding spaces for BIPOC youth in the area around CPT.
BIPOC and women representation in the youth-dominated skateboarding community is seriously lacking in Toronto so the Ubuntu Community Collective developed and launched Skate, Create, Meditate with generous support from the MLSE Community Action Grant. Skate Create Meditate is a youth and women led community program that introduces and teaches BIPOC children mindfulness, skateboarding and creativity.
Parents/guardians/caregivers are present and participate by making art and learning to support their child with skateboarding.
Many studies have proven that skateboarding is a sport that improves mental health, fosters community and encourages diversity and resilience. Being an important part of youth culture, skateboarding breaks down barriers and builds relationships.
Our first event day on Sunday July 25, 2021 started with 7 new families participating and 20 children learning how to skate: many for the first time. We created a mobile skatepark in the parking lot of the Children’s Peace Theatre nestled in Taylor Creek Park, a beautiful natural landscape for children to explore, play, and be free. It is also on land reclaimed by the Wiigwaasika community. We are sharing space with stewards of the land.
First, families gathered together to stretch and breathe before breaking out into groups. Children got to create their very own grip tape designs on new skateboards they are assembling as part of the program. They also learned how to skateboard and do tricks on our new mobile skate park built by @Ramp2rail.
Yash from @impactskateclub came to help teach skateboarding safety and basic skills. DJ @selavie MC’d the event and spun positive up-beat tunes throughout the afternoon.
Parents learned how to support and encourage their children in the sport before they moved to the shade and painted on paper and small skateboard pieces. Childcare was provided for small children. Refreshments and snacks kept everyone energized and hydrated. Families even got to take home a bag of fresh organically-grown produce from Ubuntu Community Collective food security initiative.
We managed to include so many supportive elements to our program to make it a truly holistic and joyous event. Parents and children connected while making art in nature. Children were motivated to skate and improve their skills. Some parents wanted to know more about Ubuntu Community Collective programming and are looking forward to the next event on August 22nd.
Our program will continue to run on the fourth Sunday of the month until October. Weekly Pay-what-you-can drop-in sessions will begin in August, on Thursdays, from 5PM to 8PM. This will give an opportunity for children in the community to learn to skateboard in a beautiful, safe and supportive environment and for Ubuntu Community Collective to raise some money to keep this program going.