Watch CBS News

Free Skateboarding Clinics Have Kids Flocking To Skate Park In Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City spent millions of dollars last year building a skate park in Brownsville, Brooklyn, but many kids in the neighborhood didn't know how to use it, until now.

The new skate park in Betsy Head Park is teeming with kids.

"It's a sport that I really enjoy," 7-year-old Malcolm Vincent Gravenhise said.

But it wasn't like that when the skate park first opened last year.

"It's not an activity that lots of kids participate in, particularly in this area of Brooklyn ... We wanted to make sure that the kids who live here felt like it was for them," said Gingi Pica, director of community investment with L+M Development Partners.

So over the summer, a local affordable housing development partnered with the Harold Hunter Foundation to bring free skateboarding clinics to local kids at the park four days a week.

"It's been overwhelmingly satisfying," coach Bilao Ndongo told CBS2's Ali Bauman.

Ndongo lives in the neighborhood.

"Just the fact the kids can have access to a space like this is important," he said.

"He helped teach me tricks, like an ollie," 11-year-old Zalen Peoples said.

Zalen was brand new to boarding when he started coming to clinics this summer. Now, he's at the park almost every day.

"Be able to do something besides homework after school," he said.

The clinic also provides skateboards and gear that kids can rent out completely for free.

"A lot of people would come to the park but never had a skateboard, so they would even tell me, like, I'm glad you guys are here because I always wanted to do it but I just didn't have the means to," coach Shani Bouldin said.

Bouldin believes being at the park is encouraging kids to try something new and to stick with it.

"Before they were watching skaters, now they are skaters, so it's like, you know, I've seen it change some people's lives," she said.

With the help of their coaches, the kids are making the new skate park all their own.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.