+
True
SoCal Honda Dealers

Nowadays, it feels like skate culture has become synonymous with Long Beach. But it wasn't always that way.

In fact, before the year 2000, Long Beach, California, didn't have a single skate park to its name. But Mike Donelon, a former city councilman, helped change that.

In 1996, Donelon noticed more and more kids around the neighborhood picking up skateboards. But they didn't have a safe — or even legal — place to skate. Kids ended up skating on private property or the streets most of the time, which led to them being ticketed by police or getting into serious accidents.


Donelon knew that if he could provide a proper venue for the kids to skate, they'd take full advantage of it.

All images via ASK, used with permission.

But many members of the community were against the idea. They latched on to negative stereotypes such as kids destroying property and thought more skating would lead to more crime.

"Most of the opposition was the unfounded negative impression of skateboarders," Donelon writes in an email.

But Donelon, who calls himself a "a rebel with a positive mission," had a plan to enlighten the naysayers: have the kids talk to the community themselves to highlight just how important this was to them.

The plan was a success. Says Donelon: "I was blown away by the kids' involvement. We would invite 25 kids to a meeting and 50 would show up."

The city listened. In time, the kids had a skate park they could call their own.

In 2000, Donelon helped open the El Dorado Skate Park to finally give kids a safe and legal place to do their thing. But soon after, Donelon saw that skate parks could have an even bigger effect in the community.

When he noticed kids from all over Long Beach traveling long distances to enjoy El Dorado Skate Park, Donelon realized that expanding the program and building more skate parks across the city — including in under-resourced areas — would engage at-risk youth unlike ever before.

In 2003, the Michael K. Green Skate Park was established.

The best part? After just three years, the city of Long Beach let Donelon know just how effective the skate park was. According to Donelon, drug-related incidents and violent crime have dropped in that neighborhood since the skate park was built.

To keep this incredible momentum rolling, Donelon then founded the Action Sports Kids Foundation (ASK), where he now serves as executive director.

Their main mission is to provide at-risk youth with an alternative to gang life through action sports, education, and community activities. And since day one, they've been flourishing.

Mike Donelon (left) and ASK team co-founder Alberth Mimila.

"Our team started with 8 kids in 2011," writes Donelon. "We now have 180 members with 60 that show up to our monthly meetings."

ASK also regularly invites guest speakers to share their wisdom — from the mayor to the police chief to professional skaters and their official teams. ASK even hosts fun events like best trick contests and field trips to other skate parks in the city.

Since its inception, ASK has undoubtedly played a major role in changing countless lives and establishing eight skate parks across Long Beach.

In fact, legendary pro skater Tony Hawk uses ASK as a model in his own foundation to show cities across the country just how effective a skate park program can really be.

"Skateboarding and skate parks give at risk youth a sense of belonging to something positive," Donelon writes. "It works and we are proof."

Donelon and Tony Hawk with the kids of ASK.

ASK welcomes anyone to come in and join their mission. All you need to do is reach out to them to let them know you're interested, and they'll find the perfect spot in their organization where you can help out. You can also attend any of their upcoming events to see how they're creating change firsthand.

If you're unable to work with them directly, though, there are so many other ways you can make a similar impact in your community. Whether it's becoming a mentor, throwing events to shine a light on important issues, or even reaching out to your local government about starting your own skate park, there are countless ways to follow ASK's incredible example.

At the end of the day, if there's anything that their story shows us, it's how creating lasting change in the community simply starts by listening to the people who make it so special.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

Keep ReadingShow less
Image courtesy of Meta’s Community Voices film series

Nenad Bach, founder of Ping Pong Parkinson's.

True

Nenad Bach, a Croatian American recording artist, and peace activist has led an impressive life propelled by his inspiring optimism. As a musician, he’s performed alongside Bono and Luciano Pavarotti and took the stage at Woodstock ‘94. He’s recorded with legendary artists such as Garth Hudson and Rick Danko from The Band and The Grateful Dead’s Vince Welnick.

As an activist, he was highlighted by the United Nations for his World Peace in One Hour campaign.

But in 2010 his life came to a temporary halt after being diagnosed with Parkinson's, a nervous system disorder affecting movement. According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it’s a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time.

Over a million people in the U.S. and 6 million worldwide are affected by the disease.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's, Bach was invited by a friend to play ping pong. The next day he couldn’t believe how much better he felt. His cognitive abilities improved, his tremors were less intense, it was easier for him to walk and talk and he felt a greater “desire to live,” he told Upworthy.

Keep ReadingShow less

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Keep ReadingShow less