Five Ways Skaters May Give Back This Holiday Season

The winter holidays are about giving back to others. What you give doesn't have to cost a lot or be outfitted with a big red bow to be meaningful. It just has to come from the heart. With that said, here are a few inexpensive ways that you can give back to your family, friends and community this holiday season:

1. Donate Skate Gear

Why not donate your old skate gear to those who can put it to good use? Everything is fair game. Companies like Nike grind up old skate shoes to make playground components. The Nike program is called ReUse a Shoe and you can find further information about the program online. Non-profit organizations like New York Cares and the Salvation Army may find a use for gently used skate clothing. Boards for Bros and some YMCA's accept old skateboard equipment and refurbish it. Community center art classes may appreciate your old skateboards as well.

2. Get Crafty

If you are adept at using carpenter's tools you could even create furniture, artwork or home d├ęcor out of your old skateboard parts. Take for example a mirrored skateboard that I found online for $199. You could go to the local craft store, buy a mirror, glue it to your skate deck and make your own skate mirror for a fraction of the cost. You could also cut your old skate deck into squares and make drink coasters, cell phone cases, belt buckles or jewelry. Old skate wheels could even be turned into a funky set of checkers. Let your imagination go crazy.

3. Volunteer and Advocate

Volunteering at your local skate park, skate shop or community center is another great way to give back. You could offer to give skate lessons, clean up the local skatepark or lend your skate art skills. Some skate related organizations like the Skatepark of Baltimore also appreciate help with fund raising and skatepark advocacy efforts. A good place to research volunteer opportunities is the Volunteer Match website. In the past I have used the site myself with much success. If you don't find anything listed there, you can also try contacting your local chamber of commerce or non-profit organizations.

4. Teach Through Skate Videos

Creating a skate video for your family members is something else that you may want to consider. In addition to producing a typical skate video for your family, you may want to consider creating one that could be used as a trick tutorial for new skaters or may be used to advocate for skater's rights and skateparks. You could donate a copy of the trick tutorial to your local library, skate shop or school as well as post it online. As far as the skater's rights and advocacy video goes, you could include information that helps dispel myths about skaters and then post it online as well as donate a copy to groups that are lobbying for skateparks or skater friendly laws in your area.

5. Give Skate Demos in Unlikely Places

Offering to give a skate demo at your local children's hospital or nursing home is another superlative way to give back to your community. Having worked in health care, I can attest to how much such things are appreciated. I know at first blush it may sound silly to give a skate demo at places where people are physically unable to skate themselves but it really isn't. The residents of the nursing home I worked for loved receiving visitors of all kinds. It gave them something different to do and made them feel connected to the outside world again. In addition to the skate demo you might want to consider reading a skate related book to the kids or talking about skate history with the senior citizens as well.

My children are skaters and I have a history of following the sport.

More from this contributor:

Mirror Skateboard Reflects Signs of the Times

House of Vans Skate Contest and Coat Drive Set for Dec. 17th, 2011 in NYC

Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD has Longtime Skate Fans Stoked

Skaters and Abandoned Sports Stadiums: A Fan's Thoughts

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Updated Wednesday, Dec 14, 2011