NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — “It seems like everybody wants to skate now. They want to skate outdoors, they want to skate at the parks, basketball courts, tennis courts, and I think it’s just great,” Rainbow Rink manager Michael Cooper said.
During the summer months, roller skating spiked in popularity, and Marilyn Young of 716 Rollers wants to use that momentum to help the youth.
“I believe that roller skating has actually been a conduit to keep some young people off the streets," Young said. "Safe and doing positive things.”
She said that is what roller skating has done for her, so she started a program called “Mentoring on Wheels” to keep kids active during the colder months.
The kids will be meet at Rainbow Rink in North Tonawanda for ten weeks, and by the end of the program, they will receive their own pair of skates.
"Hopefully, with those skates, they’ll continue to skate on throughout the summer month,” Young said.
But the program is about more than just skating, it is also about mentorship. Each student will be paired with a mentor and take virtual sessions about making it work during the pandemic.
“So we’re teaching them how to be resilient, how to bounce back, life skills, things like that,” she said.
The program is for kids age 9-18, runs from November 14 to April 10, and is completely free
“We have like 20 slots. It's first come first come first serve and they can email us at email@example.com."