Education, much like skating, is founded on the cornerstone that success only comes after a multitude of failures have been followed up by a persistent desire to win and try again. It is through those core values that we can learn new tricks, and it is those same principles that will help students tackle both school and life itself. That said, we sit down with one entrepreneur who is teaching kids how to skate the system of life while giving them hope, inspiration, and a central hub where they can brush up on their skills.
Founded in 2009, The Garage Board Shop was conceived as a passion project by Jerry Carrera and Maria "Patty" Ramblaz, along with his son Christian. From the outside, it looks like any typical skate shop, but it's what's inside (and why it is was built) that makes it impressive. Flanked along Atlantic Blvd in East Los Angeles, and just a stone's throw away from Whittier Blvd, the shop has become the stomping grounds for hundreds of locals. From enthusiasts looking to pick up a new board or some fresh gear to kids looking to showcase their talents, The Garage Board Shop is more than just a meeting grounds; it's a melting pot of inspiration and a home away from home.
Once inside, the narrow yet lengthy shop sports a vintage feel, planked with refurbished furniture that was recycled and customized to suit their needs. Inside, you'll find that his employees (and locals) have created much of the art and props, and the vibe is both compelling and motivating. From repurposed cabinets to old televisions, the shop sports a homey feel that carries the same history they're trying to create. And while most businesses are built strictly with profit in mind, this shop was built with community development in mind. It was erected to act as a hub where inner-city kids could refine their skills and showcase their talents.
But while the service and use of their facility may be free, there is still a price to pay. That price of admission? A good report card. "Anyone who wants to use The Garage Board Shop has to submit their report card. If their grades are good, above a 3.0, we reward them with use of the indoor ramps and rails, and some even receive sponsorship, product, and at the least, wonderful memories and pizza," says Mr. Carrera. When asked why he created this reward system, his answer was simple yet sentimental, "I created this outlet to give inner-city kids some inspiration to do better. Our main goal here is to reward the kids with skating supplies and a facility that will encourage their growth, but the underlying mission is to promote an interest in education while inspiring them to pursue their education beyond high school."
This year the establishment has stayed on track with their mission and has actively recruited a new skate league entitled, L.A. SK8 Games. The program, which will take place every three months, promotes an enhancement of grades as well as games and their inner-city movement is sure to become a program that may easily become a global epidemic. That said, The Garage Board Shop is a destination that needs to explored and added to your bucket list. Especially in a day and age where kids are no longer active and glued to their phones and tablets, it's good to see that Jerry and his crew are promoting old-school values and an active lifestyle that doubles as the backbone to a successful education and even brighter future. Pay it forward.