There are not enough kind words for this wonderful organization that has given Mateo so much. I have been wanting Mateo to try skateboarding for some time. His uncle had given him a custom painted board, but Mateo just didn’t have the interest and to be honest we didn’t really have the skills to get out there and teach him.
So when I found out about Skate MD, a local organization that helps kids with special needs learn to skate for FREE, I jumped on the opportunity. I was unable to attend the first clinic, but Mateo had a great time with his dad and his skate buddy. He was a bit apprehensive and held on tight to his skate buddy for the day, and tired quickly. So when it was time to sign up for the second one, I was so thrilled that he could have the opportunity to try it again. And I was excited to get to see it for myself!
And this time was much different! We had taken him out to practice after we realized how much he enjoyed it, and slowly he was building up confidence. As we got closer to Saturday, I kept reminding Mateo that it was almost time to go to the Skate Park again. I would ask him, “Are you excited to go skate again?” All I would get out of him was a yeah and a smile, but I knew he was looking forward to it.
On Saturday we arrived a little early and Mateo was paired up with Geoff. Geoff is actually the husband of one of the co-founders and wound up being the perfect match for Mateo. The huge smile never left his face as he raced around the skate park. He began to hold on with only one hand and really build his confidence. Even after a couple falls, nothing would stop him. I heard Geoff ask him if he wanted to take a break for a snack or a drink of water. “No Thanks”, he replied, he just wanted to keep skating and he did for two hours straight!
He even paired up with an older boy and they had fun going down the ramp together. And when Mateo crashed, his new friend reached down and gave him a hand. I thought, that right there is what it’s all about! Mateo was not only having a great time interacting with his skate buddy but was also making new friends.
Mateo has a hard time with his coordination. Team sports like softball or soccer were always too difficult for him. I worried about the other parents more than the other kids, because they can be so competitive. I have put Mateo in track at school, but that is only for a couple months out of the year and I really feel that he needs more time outside and being active.
Skate MD had showed him that he can do stuff his peers can do, it has given him confidence, helps him with his coordination and allowed him to interact with some amazing people!
On Saturday Board Rescue, another great organization gifted all 25 kids there with a free new skateboard! Once they made the announcement, parents around me were wiping tears from their eyes. Having their children included in something so incredible is not a common occurrence. Many of these parents have put so much money and work into therapy for their children but rarely receive much in return. Seeing their children with a huge smile plastered on their face and feeling a part of something is a huge gift in itself. Being given a day with some exceptional people helping their kids and a free skateboard was just incredible. I don’t think this organization even realized what a huge difference they would make in our children’s lives.
Mateo has been skating every day since and will continue to build up his skills. Maya has even showed interest and started trying to skate too! If you can help donate anything, this is a very worthy organization who is truly making a difference in children’s lives.