Shredding for school: Researchers study links between skateboarding and academic success

By Linda Jacobson for

LOS ANGELES — Squeezed between the racks of T-shirts and displays of skateboards, Cole Taylor, a volunteer from the Nike Community Ambassador program, sits down with 8-year-old Daniel Basaldua to practice spelling words and complete math problems.

Students who participate in the Garage Board Shop’s after-school program write about themselves on a board, which is displayed in the skate park. | Credit: Linda Jacobson/Education Dive 

Other boys jump off their boards at the front door of the Garage Board Shop in East Los Angeles and find any spare corner to do their homework. 

Two assignments completed, along with 20 minutes of reading, earns them points that they can redeem for time on the ramps behind the retail part of the space. What used to literally be a car repair business, the shop has evolved into a thriving after-school tutoring and youth entrepreneurship program —Skate-4-Education — where students from 8 to 18 create their own logos for apparel and boards, and take workshops in math, English, art, videography and youth empowerment. 

“Schools come by and thank us at the end of year,” says Jerry Carrera, who co-founded the shop more than 10 years ago.

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