The Coast News Group
Calli Kelsay’s daughter, Aubrey, skates her family’s Ohana bowl in a backyard that has hosted friends, professional skateboarders, bmx riders and roller skaters. Photo by Jacob Aere

Skate Rising lends a helping hand to Rady Children’s Hospital

ENCINITAS — Encinitas’ non-profit Skate Rising delivered boxes of fun activity kits, made by 75 young skater girls, to Rady Children’s Hospital patients on July 13.

Calli Kelsay is the founder and program director of Skate Rising, which has a mission to teach compassion through service, empowerment and skateboarding to girls between the ages of 4-18.

“We use skateboarding as a conduit to teach self-confidence,” Kelsay said.

The charitable organization is the youth arm of Exposure Skate, a non-profit that brings opportunity and visibility to women who embody courage and strength through skateboarding.

For the third time in four years, Skate Rising delivered fun activity kits for a mixture of ages to Rady Children’s Hospital.

The activity kits delivery this year was kickstarted by Kelsay’s daughter Aubrey and her friend.

“They wanted to raise money and did it through bake sales in the community,” Kelsay said.

skate rising founder Calli Kelsay holds activity kits that she makes for children at Rady Children’s Hospital with the help of her family and friends. Photo by Jacob Aere

Paige Colburn-Hargis is the founder of the skateboarding helmet safety non-profit My Grey Matterz. Her organization helped facilitate the delivery of activity kits to Rady’s.

“These type of kits make an enormous impact on the children that are hospitalized there,” Calburn-Hargis said.

Skate Rising benefits an average of 250 individuals every month and participants are active in philanthropy around their communities.

Girls in the program have supported refugees, children’s hospital patients, underprivileged youth, veterans, foster children, and pediatric cancer patients though the program’s philanthropy events.

Erin Wiedemann is a parent of a skater in the program and said creating the care package was also a learning opportunity.

“Watching my daughter fill her bag with activities, books, puzzles, and craft materials gave us the chance to talk about why helping others is so important and that we can do our part to make sure people know we care,” Wiedemann said.

Skate Rising hosts monthly skate events for girls in Encinitas, CA and Phoenix, AZ and has seen its program participation grow 300 percent in less than two years.

At each Skate Rising event the girls have an opportunity to take part in a service project that helps fill a need in their community, while also getting to have fun on a skateboard.

The roots of Skate Rising began in 2015 after Kelsay saw the positive impact for her own daughters from skateboarding.

“Pushing through fear, falling and getting back up… along with the confidence building and how major that was for these little girls,” Kelsay said.

The non-profit’s parent organization, Exposure Skate, also focuses its efforts on female empowerment and charity work.

Every year, Exposure Skate gathers over 170 female skaters from around the world to come to the YMCA in Encinitas for the opportunity to share their skateboarding skills on a global stage. The event also serves as a benefit for survivors of domestic violence.

While Exposure Skate hosts one of the largest women’s skateboarding events in the world, Kelsay hopes to see her youth program expand its influence in the future.

“Skate Rising is that special place where (the girls) know that they can skate but they choose to help someone else instead,” Kelsay said.

On August 10, Skate Rising will be partnering with non-profit Rollin’ From The Heart to host a backpack and school supplies drive at the Encinitas Skate Plaza. They will later deliver the donated items for children at Lifeline, an Oceanside after school program.

Top Photo Caption: Calli Kelsay’s daughter, Aubrey, skates her family’s Ohana bowl in a backyard that has hosted friends, professional skateboarders, bmx riders and roller skaters. Photo by Jacob Aere