A group of Six Nations youth have been continuously and tirelessly collecting funds and hosting fundraising events since last October to try and reach their goal of building a skate park in the village of Ohsweken.
Project Skate Park Committee advisor, Rachel Martin explains to the Two Row Times how she became involved, “My son Corey is a skateboarder. Him and his friends were complaining that there was nowhere on Six Nations to ride their skateboards. I told them that if they wanted something better, they had to work for it.” The youth then wrote a letter and presented it to Six Nations Parks and Recreation Director, Cheryl Henhawk of their plans to raise money for a skate park. After that, explained Martin, the youth were invited to do a presentation of their plans to Six Nations Elected Council. “Steve Williams from Grand River Enterprises just happened to be in the audience. He approached them after their presentation and promised $25,000,” stated Martin.
That large donation got the ball rolling for Project Skate Park (PSP) and gave them the confidence they needed in reaching for their goals. PSP now has a board, which is made up of nine youth. “Seven boys and 2 girls,” stated Martin.
According to Martin, the youth started to fundraise in October 2013 and to date have received several large amounts from various corporations. “We have $55,000.00 from Ontario Trillium Foundation, $25,000.00 from GRE, $25,000.00 from BYOGI, $15,000.00 from Hydro One, $15,000.00 from Union Gas, $10,500.00 from the Gaming Commission, and the Farmer’s Association donated $500.00.”
PSP youth were on hand two weeks ago at the plaza in the village to accept a $2,500.00 donation from Royal Bank of Canada. Elected Chief Ava Hill was in attendance and offered words of encouragement, support and congratulated the group of youth in their determination in reaching their goals.
Asked on how much more funds they need to raise, Martin explained, “Our goal is $250,000.00. We need another $12,000.00 in corporate sponsorships. There’s also another $4,050.00 that we need to raise ourselves. The kids have been selling tickets and working at various gold tournaments. Union Gas not only donated money, but they also donated a barbecue as well so we have also been selling raffle tickets for that.”
Martin stated that the anticipated start date to begin construction is this coming October. “It will take approximately 6-8 weeks to finish. We want to cut the ribbon next June.” According to Martin, once the park is complete, it will be owned by Six Nations Elected Council and signage will be posted to use at your own risk.
To learn more, donate or buy raffle tickets, contact Committee advisors Rachel Martin or Ginger Smith. You can also visit their Facebook page, Project Skate Park.