For Jake McNichol ’12, skating was a big part of his childhood. “I started skating when I was twelve,” he said. “It taught me to think creatively, set goals, and work hard to achieve them. During summer breaks from George School, I collaborated with Reign Skate Shop and HomeFront to run a skateboarding summer program for at-risk youth as a way to give back.”
When Jake returned to the area after college and learned that all of New Jersey’s indoor skate parks had shut down, he was devastated. “This left skaters in the state with nowhere safe and publicly accessible to skate when it is too cold, rainy, or dark outside,” he said. “I realized there was an opportunity to address this problem by creating an indoor skate park and art space in Trenton.”
So, last January he filed the necessary paperwork to form a 501c(3), and in June Freedom Skate Park opened its doors.
“Our goal has always been, and always will be, to create a space that will allow skaters of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels to come together to share their creativity and encourage progression,” said Jake. “We focus specifically on creating opportunities for youth in Trenton to get exposed to skateboarding, and also work to shine a spotlight on the arts and music scene in Trenton with events like our board giveaways and concerts.”
In addition to the benefits that Freedom Skate Park brings to the city’s youth, it also helps Trenton as a whole by bringing in visitors from across the tristate area. “There are no other indoor parks in Jersey and the ones in Philly are private facilities, so we get a lot of visitors from Bucks County, Philly, and other parts of New Jersey. Our events attract more than one hundred people of all ages, backgrounds, and gender identities,” said Jake.
To learn more about Freedom Skate Park or to volunteer visit, www.freedomnj.org.