Tag Archives: Stoked Mentoring

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
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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 to Serve – A Coach’s View

STOKED to Serve – A Coach’s View

Words and photos by Alex Bruno

At STOKED, we pride ourselves on providing a unique sense of community for our students and mentors so it only made sense that our first service project of the Spring took place at East Side Community High School. Our day started out in the garden next to East Side’s schoolyard, where students and mentors worked hand in hand to plant flowers along the entrance way and clear weeds and vines from the garden’s brick path. The garden, previously a bus depot, was built by the students and faculty of all the schools in the J.H.S. 60 building and has stood the test of time thanks to the help of organizations like Common Ground Compost, who we were thankful to have by our side. This piece of greenery is wedged between a mosque and the school; truly showing the East Village’s vibrant and diverse community.


The second half of the day was spent skateboarding in East Side’s schoolyard. Known as 12th and A in the skateboarding community, this spot has been home to everything from contests to major video parts by skateboarders from around the world. Just last Fall, HUF Footwear, founded by New York’s own Keith Hufnagel, visited the schoolyard to put on a demo for the students and community. All the team members donated new boards that are still used by the students in East Side’s STOKED program. Mark F. and Tom M., Principal and Assistant Principal of East Side, have been essential in opening their doors to the skateboarding community and quickly realized the potential of teaching and mentoring through skateboarding within school.

As students began stretching and warming up for the session, we were joined by students from University Settlement Beacon. Beacon is run out of East Side and provides a sense of community for the students around the neighborhood. STOKED recently partnered with Beacon for a Saturday Skate program for the Spring and this was the first day Beacon students would meet and skate with their mentors.


From fixing the quarter pipe to skateboarding relay races, it is safe to say everyone enjoyed the first STOKED to Serve of the Spring. We end all of our weekend programing with a STOKED circle, a gathering in which students and mentors reflect on the day and give each other what we like to call kudos, or compliments for their hard work and energy. This STOKED circle had an added bonus and surprise for the kids, as STOKED alumni and Uncle Funky Skateboards affiliate Taimir provided longboards for a few select students who really put their best foot forward during the day. All in all, it was a day where students and mentors worked hand in hand to give back to their school, community and city.


To get involved with STOKED as a mentor or volunteer, go here to learn more!

What do Youth from the East + West Coasts Have in Common?

HOLA youth with STOKED youth outside 10 Jay Street.
A lot!
We are more alike than we believe and we got to witness that firsthand this past Friday as we hosted a group of teens from the Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) program at our New York office. 
HOLA is a non-profit that has been working with under-served youth in Los Angeles for more than 20 years. They provide kids ages 6-19 with programs in academics, arts and athletics. They were also STOKED’s first partner in Los Angeles, so we were super excited to host them.
For our visitors, it was their first time in New York and for some it was their first experience traveling outside of Los Angeles!
Talks and intros at Stoked New York HQ.
We compared lingo across the coasts–tight vs. dank–and both groups got excited as they saw similarities and joked about some of the differences in speech.
HOLA kids taught us an interactive icebreaker game called “All my peeps,”and after a couple of hilarious rounds the camaraderie was solid.
We finished off the day with a whispered version of the STOKED circle.
Overall the kids were happy they got to meet each other and to know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. Getting the HOLA and STOKED NY kids together was a great opportunity for them to see how similar kids can be regardless of how far they live and where they come from.
Thanks to Zaidy and Alexandra, our rockstar Summer Associates, for creating this blog post.
P.S. Meet Zaidy tomorrow on the blog…