Cochrane Skaters Building Homes in Mexico
Skateboarders head to Mexico
By Sarah Junkin
More than a dozen Cochrane skateboarders are preparing to head to Ensenada, Mexico to help build some houses for underprivileged families.
The teens will join more than 40 other kids from Medicine Hat and Sundre as part of YWAM, Youth With a Mission.
The international volunteer organisation is made up of Christians from many backgrounds, all with an interest in improving the lives of others.
Spearheading the trip for the Cochrane group is Josh Poffenroth who along with some friends noticed about two years ago that many Cochrane youth didn’t have a lot to do.
He hooked up with Dylan Oosterveld of the Cochrane Youth Association, and together they hosted evening drop in sessions at the Boys and Girls Club.
But though some kids came often, some nights nobody came at all.
“So we went to the skateboard park and there were a ton of kids there,” said Poffenroth. “So we hung out there instead. We asked the town to keep the lights on later and we brought snacks and drinks. We could see it was a great opportunity to build relationships with the kids.”
Poffenroth and his helpers helped the kids host a couple of mini competitions and as a result they were able to donate $70 to Cochrane and Area Victim Services with the cash they’d raised.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it was an important first step,” said Poffenroth, adding the group has since taken part in skate cleanups and raised cash for cancer. “It’s been great watching them try to be a positive light in the community.”
The community, meanwhile has responded positively in turn.
Home Treasures feeds the group, now known as the Inside, and All Saints Anglican Church has given them the use of a garage as well as cash to build indoor ramps, and even paid for the insurance.
Calgary’s C3 Church West, near Calaway Park, has also let them use several thousand square feet of their facility rent free so they have somewhere to skate when the weather’s bad.
Cochrane’s popular skate and snowboarding store Shredz, has agreed to host a fundraising event for the skaters who are still trying to raise the cash to get to Mexico in April.
“Sam (Stuart, the owner of Schredz) has been so supportive,” said Poffenroth.
The March 14 event will take place at the store at 7:30 p.m. and will feature three acoustic bands, a silent auction, and a presentation about the Mexican trip.
The group will be in Ensenada from April 6-16 and together they’ll build three homes. They must purchase the materials to the tune of about $5,000 and then provide housewarming gifts costing approximately $1,500.
“In total our team has to raise about $20,000,” said Poffenroth. “We’ve been having bottle drives and so on and still have about $4,000 to go.”
To learn more about the Inside, or to donate online to help them reach their Mexico fundraising goal, visit www.theinsidecochrane.com.