The Garage Board Shop
The Urban Warehouse
The Garage Board Shop was founded by Jerry and his son, Christian. The shop was opened with the idea for the community youth to come and express themselves through different mediums. It was not just meant to get them to express themselves, but to get the youth to apply themselves into positive outlets like music, dancing, and art. The young DJ’s, bands, break dancers, and artists came to see it as an urban lounge and a proving ground for their talents.
The Garage Board Shop would often host art shows to display the talent of youth to the community. Lots of youth and local artist would participate in the shows to demonstrate their talent to the public and what they were capable of accomplishing. All of that talent and urban art under one roof was inspiring.
In 2009 Jerry and Maria aka “Patty” took over The Garage Board Shop, with the notion of wanting to become more involved with the community. After some time, they decided to open an after school program called “Skate-4-Education”. The program was meant to combine skateboarding with education by having members treat skateboarding similar to an academic sport, much like football or track; encouraging kids to apply themselves in their academics as well as in their skating.
There is a strong need in the Los Angeles inner-city for education based programs geared towards inner-city youth. The inner-city is known to be a high crime rate area, with high levels of gang and drug activity. The public schools are notorious for being over-crowded and underfunded. The majority of the inner-city youth interested in skateboarding and street art come from low-income or poverty stricken families. We saw the inner-city youth as a vulnerable group with too many negative influences in their environment and limited opportunities to pursue their passion. We thought to ourselves if only they had a place where they could go to get away from negative influences, a place to express themselves productively, a place that could be their safe-haven. Rather than wait for such a place to show-up we decided to create it here at The Garage Board Shop.
Skate-4-Education allows kids to come after school to receive tutoring and practice skateboarding in our indoor skate area. The members bring in report cards, good or bad, so we can monitor their improvement. When we see progress in their grades we reward them with skate events, sponsorship, product, and wonderful memories.
Creating a skate atmosphere with an underlying focus on education in East Los Angeles was not easy. The inner-city youth were hard core street riders who did not have much interest in school. But, little by little and through constant nagging to get the youth to do their homework, we have seen the youth demonstrate that they can succeed academically while simultaneously learning to be good skaters.