By Derek Egbert
One of the best feel-good stories in the world of action sports right now is being fueled by the passion of Mr. Action Sports himself–Sal Masakela. Sal is not only the face of the X Games (and a co-host of E’s “Daily 10”), but is a budding philanthropist that co-founded the incredible Stoked Mentoring organization with Steve Larosiliere. In their own words,
“Stoked’s mission is to develop:
Determination through action sports and mentoring.”
Stoked is a mentoring program that takes at-risk and disadvantaged youth and pairs them up with an encouraging mentor and they participate in mentoring sessions as well as activities like surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. As soon as I heard about this, I started looking through their website (http://www.stoked.org) and got very excited and wanted to sign up immediately to participate as a mentor but was bummed that they are only acting in a few select locations right now.
I am confident that many of us would love have a positive impact in the lives of more people, but sometimes it is hard to know where to start or what to do. Stoked looks like an awesome program that can combine skill and passion for action sports and apply it in the life of somebody who is really struggling; the goal is to attempt to give them something challenging and rewarding to hold onto and thrive at. There are so many teens who come from broken homes and from very trying circumstances that are waiting for somebody to believe in them. By helping these struggling youth learn the skills it takes to succeed in a new sport, their new-found grit and determination can then be applied in any challenge they meet!
I spent a good chunk of my youth with The Boy Scouts of America and had amazing leaders that encouraged me to serve the community in whatever way possible (they were not the kind of Scout leaders we commonly saw in the news for incredibly sick things). These leaders were such an integral part of shaping my character and encouraged me enough that I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout! This relationship I had with my leaders was a positive factor in my life, even though I wasn’t prone to getting into much trouble, those leaders did more than just keep me out of trouble. For those kids who come from rough backgrounds, good mentors are infinitely more important but yet much harder to find. Stoked Mentoring is figuring out how to do just that in a very cool and effective way through action sports mentoring.
I applaud Sal and Steve for their involvement in this awesome venture and I hope they continue to pick up steam to raise money and awareness of this program. Last year, Sal ran the New York Marathon and raised some good money for Stoked. I have a feeling this is not the last we will see of Mr. Masekela’s efforts to promote this awesome cause. For more information, check out www.stoked.org and thanks for reading!
Derek Egbert is an action sports nut who started off riding dirt bikes, but is now a big fan of anything related to action sports. Follow @degbert on twitter or check out actionsportsreview.com for a deeper look at what makes him tick.