My name is Emily Skinner and I am the project coordinator for Otra Cosa Network. I have been working with the team for over three months and it has been an exciting ride. I would like to share my experience from Skate Ramp Construction day. From the donation from a past volunteer for the skate ramp, we designed and built a small open air room. We built a roof, a long table, and two benches. This room is now used for work room to do workshops, art projects, and future projects. After weeks of research, budgeting, and price hunting we were ready to start.
I arrived at 8:30am with my first load of materials. There were already 9 kids waiting for me at the door. They all helped me unload the truck. I had 4 five year olds carrying a log that I couldn't even pick up myself! Rosita (one of the younger and most fiery ones) carrying two 5 gallon jugs of water that for sure weighted more than she did. I had to go back home to get more stuff and when I returned with the second load they help just the same. They were thankful and understood the value of what was happening there. I had the girls sanding the tables and chairs and painting. Then the other volunteers started to arrive so we go started on the roof structure construction. We sawed, nailed, hammered and worked! It took us six hours, but we got it all done.
The girls were impressed with watching me work all day in the construction and Milly told me, "wow Emily your worked soo hard today! Thank you!" I continue going to the skate ramp every Saturday and Sunday and the kids are so full of life and fun. I’m sure I learn more from them then they do from me.
In the new room, we have made necklaces and crowns, written stories, and painted. The kids are advancing at their skateboarding skills and more than half can drop in from the half pipe. The skate ramp is a great place for the kids to have a safe place to socialize and share. The kids respect the ramp and it is exciting to see the possibilities that are there for them.
By Emily Skinner from the USA (OCN Project Coordinator, July 2011 to present)