BYLINE: There is a stigma attached to what it means to make it as a young professional. Children feel they have to have incredible marks to be successful. They have the wrong idea. Cape Town has become an international centre for design and creativity, yet a gap still exists between design and education. Now imagine a programme that allows children to redesign their futures through a mentorship in design thinking.
Sk8 for Gr8 is an initiative that launched on the 27th of March 2015 in The Woodstock Exchange.
Alison Harris, a Cape Town based Art Director, is the founder of the initiative. Her desire for Sk8 for Gr8 is simple in its essence: to encourage design thinking in South Africa’s education philosophy.
‘What I love about the idea is that it allows kids who simply didn’t have the opportunity before to dream a little bigger,’ explains Harris. ‘So the magic in Sk8 for Gr8 is that it started with not much to its name… only a big dream. But it’s now becoming something solid and tangible. It’s walked the same path as I hope these kids will.’
Harris believes that children who grow up without an abundance of opportunity also grow up with a stigma attached to what being successful means.
‘Kids feel that if they struggle at school, there is no hope for them,’ says Parker. ‘In a nutshell, they have the wrong idea. Cape Town has far more to offer, and with the growing skate culture paired up with our incredible design talent found so easily within the city… I came up with Sk8 for Gr8.’
Sk8 for Gr8 is an initiative that pairs up extremely talented designers with children, to mentor them in design and expose their young minds to important skills and exceptional opportunities.
The designers work together with the children in a series of four workshops to create beautifully designed skateboard decks, each design inspired by each child. Once these boards are produced, the originals get auctioned off at the initiative’s launch event and now they have gone a step further and have launched the sale of these boards (along with prints too). This will be officially launching on the 2nd of November at the Red Bull Studio on Bree Street along with First Thursdays. The event is an expose of creativity and design found within the city’s borders, all coming together to lift up the children involved and celebrate new opportunities. Opening their doors at 6pm, the event will feature various artworks and skate decks accompanied by great music and a cash bar.
‘Collaboration is an important tool to learn. This initiative would have never gained quite the same amount of momentum as it has without the help of all our partners.
‘A mentor is far more powerful than a hundred rand bill,’ insists Harris. ‘The design workshops in which the kids are being mentored are so much more important than the raising of money. Yet both work together for the same end result.’
‘What I didn’t want was to find underprivileged kids and throw money at them. It’s not about that. It’s about enabling kids, underprivileged or not, to realise their futures and equip them to work for those dreams,’ says Harris. ‘Obviously we are earning and raising money here. Skate culture is big and we’ve noticed that, so it is about creating a product that the public wants. But “raising money” is not what Sk8 for Gr8 is about. The philosophy is to change our minds about how we enable our kids. Not only through money, especially not through handouts, but through the encouragement of learning and then the mentoring of those skills learnt.’
Eventually, Harris dreams that Sk8 for Gr8 will impact millions of lives with many different children and artists taking part.
You can contact Alison Harris about this initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can see what Sk8 for Gr8 is up to on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sk8forgr8/
Written by: Brad Harris
CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za.
Submit and get free press releases here: MyPR Free Press Release.
Click here to list your business on BuyPE.