On August 27, New Haven’s Ward 22 Alder Jeanette L. Morrison, New Haven city officials, and partners of Finding A Line: New Haven convened at Ella B. Scantlebury Park in Dixwell to cut the ribbon on a skate park. Morrison and guests applauded the contributions of J. Joseph YC’19 and Steve T. Roberts, who envisioned and initiated the project in response to a need in their hometown. The pair sourced the funds and rallied the partners necessary to bring the idea to fruition. Yale collaborators acknowledged at the event also included Bobbie Pourier YC’20, past president of the Yale Undergraduate Skateboarding Union, and the Yale Schwarzman Center, which provided $25,000 in matching funds for a grant Joseph and Roberts secured from the Could Be Fund toward the skate park’s construction. The grand opening concluded with a skateboarding clinic for youth ages 5-13, hosted by Joseph and Roberts and designed around physical distancing requirements.
Finding A Line: New Haven is the local branch of a growing nationwide initiative that cultivates collaborations between skaters and non-skaters to inspire positive social change. The name refers to both the act of finding a line through a physical space with a skateboard and finding connections between individuals. Finding A Line: New Haven partners include Push to Start, New Haven Innovation Collaborative (formerly Elm City Innovation Collaborative), the City of New Haven, Yale Undergraduate Skateboarding Union, and the Yale Schwarzman Center. Both Joseph and Roberts are currently working on skateboard and media-related projects for the Yale Schwarzman Center. Roberts is also the founder of Push to Start, a youth engagement program that promotes skateboarding as a physical activity and a means to building self-confidence and teaching perseverance.