Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Student Profile: Kay in LA

Student Profile: Kay in LA

Words by: Kristy Bluem

LA Student Profile

Student: Kilatzli S.

Grade: Senior

School: Academic Leadership Community

Program: STOKED Year 2
Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 10.28.12 AM

Kay is an amazing, bright, and talented young lady. It has been a true pleasure to watch her grow into the woman we know today. Kay started off in STOKED as a Junior last year where she was very soft spoken and kept to herself, but as she got more and more involved with STOKED she really found her voice!

Kay has taken advantage of every opportunity that STOKED has offered her, attending every weekend snow, surf, and skate trip she could. She had the opportunity to not only see snow, and go to the beach for the first time with us, but has since become an avid snowboarder and surfer. This year we worked with Kay helping her apply to colleges and prepare for the next phase of her life. She talked about her one true passion when applying to schools – STOKED! As she explained to me, “STOKED has been the one constant in my life the past 2 years, I have met the most amazing friends and mentors, all while experiencing so many things for the first time.” Kay recently received many college acceptance letters, one it particular from Willamette University which mentioned how awesome it was that she was in involved in STOKED.

After much thought and weighing all of her options Kay announced that she has decided to attend UCLA, with a partial scholarship. We couldn’t be more proud of her and all that she has accomplished. When I asked about her future she responded with, “ I couldn’t have done it without STOKED, you all have taught me so much. I will be forever grateful and always a STOKER!”

STOKED on Spring

STOKED on Spring

Words by: Katie Ferraro
Photos by: Dara Denysyk

What happens when you bring together passionate people, celebration, and shopping? Happiness ensues!

On April 21, STOKED teamed up with Bloomingdale’s Santa Monica for “STOKED on Spring,” a shopping event hosted by actress, model, fashion designer, and STOKED supporter Joy Bryant. STOKED staff, mentors, board members and donors gathered to celebrate and shop for a cause!

During the event, the STOKED community was treated to appetizers, beverages, and music by DJ Luke Da Duke. Together, we raised over $2000 for STOKED’s Los Angeles Programs!

Thank you to Bloomingdale’s, Joy Bryant, and everyone who attended STOKED on Spring! Your contributions and support are making a huge impact on the lives of some truly amazing kids.

This year, STOKED is celebrating 10 years in Los Angeles! Our program has thrived thanks to dedicated, compassionate, and positive mentors who volunteer their time to spend with our students. Ready to make an impact? Register to volunteer with us here.

Check out the photos from the event:

STOKED on Spring SignageBar STOKED SupportersDisco Balls Joy Bryant Overview Step and Repeat Constance and gang

Find out how you can support a student through one of our STOKED programs by becoming a STOKED Ignitor here.

Women’s History Month Profile on Alyssa Roenigk

Women’s History Month Profile on Alyssa Roenigk

Words by Katie Ferraro:

I will never forget how I felt after I read Gus Kenworthy’s story about his coming out to the world in ESPN The Magazine last year. The words that Alyssa Roenigk used to tell his beautiful story painted a perfect picture to show how empowering it is to be your true, authentic self. Alyssa not only inspired me and so many others with Gus’ story, but also single handedly reignited my passion for writing and it made my heart sing.

When I looked back to research Alyssa after Gus’ story was published, I realized that I had met her during one of the STOKED weekend mentors in Los Angeles. Turns out, Alyssa has been a STOKED Igniter and supporter for years, but is also a compassionate, fearless, and inspiring woman.

We couldn’t think of a better person to give the spotlight to for our women’s history month series than Alyssa.


Alyssa Wonder Woman

Alyssa Roenigk ESPN Motocross

photo: ESPN.com

If you could pick 1 thing that you would be remembered for, what would it be?
As a person who put more light into the world than she took from it.

One piece of life advice for young people?
Relationships matter. The way you treat people, interact with colleagues, live up to your word and have integrity in your work is just as integral to progressing in your career—and in life—as talent and skill. And don’t be late. If a story is due on Thursday, turn it in Wednesday night.

What don’t people know about you? What’s your secret talent?
I like to walk on my hands. I grew up in gymnastics and was a cheerleader at the University of Florida. I’ve always felt very comfortable being upside down.

If you given an award what song would you walk out to?
One of my favorite songs is Alison by Elvis Costello. When I was a kid, Alyssa wasn’t a common name. The first time I heard “Alison”, I mis-heard the lyrics and thought he was singing my name. As a writer, your byline matters, but mine is often misspelled and I’ve shown up to many events picked up credentials with the name Alison or Alisa or Elissa printed on them. There’s a good chance my name would be misspelled on this award, too. So this song would make me laugh. And be perfect.

Who’s your She-ro?
Growing up, I don’t remember having a particular woman I looked up to, because I didn’t know I was supposed to differentiate between the men and women I admired. When I was 5, I wanted to be Terry Bradshaw. I credit my mother for allowing me to believe it was possible that I could one day become quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. She never told me that was a silly dream. Of course, at some point, society began reminding me—far too often, I should add—that I am, in fact, a girl and that I should begin altering my dreams to fit this handicap. So “my mom” is the answer to this question, because I always chose to believe being a girl was badass. This week, in fact, at 64, my mom and I attended a Harley Davidson Riding Academy and got our motorcycle licenses. My mom hadn’t ridden a motorcycle in nearly 40 years and pushed past her insecurities about handling a 450-pound motorcycle (she weighs about 120 pounds) in front of a group of judgmental strangers and she did wonderfully. Then she kicked ass on the test. What better role model could I ask for than her?

Alyssa Pittsburgh Steelers

Check out our previous Profiles of Ann Kaatz, and Meg Hale


STOKED Visits Streetwear Brand REBEL8

STOKED Visits Streetwear Brand REBEL8

Words by: Kristy Bleum

Photos by: Kingston Photography


The students at one of our schools in Downtown LA were lucky enough to be hosted by REBEL8 recently for a special experience.

REBEL8 is a cool streetwear brand that was founded in 2003. Their designs are heavily inspired by classic skateboard graphics, graffiti, and tattoo art.

We were stoked for this opportunity.

The school campus is less than a mile away from the REBEL8 warehouse, so we skated over to check out their offices and warehouse.

STOKED loves working with brands and companies to provide unique and one of a kind memories for our students.

As corporate employees, creatives, and entrepreneurs, the normal day to day dealings of going to work in an office, being a conference room for a meeting, or seeing how a warehouse works can be opportunities to inspire our kids.


We were greeted by Kerstyn in marketing, who gave us a tour of the office and introduced us to the guys who work in the warehouse, their photographer, Kingston, and the owner and creator of Rebel8, Josh.

The kids got a ton of insight on what it takes to have and run a successful business.

Our students were very inquisitive asking many great questions about how they could get a job working there one day.

looking at art

At the end of the day they even got to skate around the warehouse and had such a blast.

We had a fantastic time and learned a ton. It was really an amazing day, and the REBEL8 crew invited the kids to come back anytime they want!

Thanks so much to all of their employees for giving our kids a rad, unique opportunity.

If you’d like to get involved with STOKED and share what you do with our students, drop us a line here.

kids skating at rebel8