Local volunteer-powered nonprofit Skate Like a Girl (SLAG) is about more than skateboarding and, well, being a girl: It’s also about self-empowerment, equality, and civic engagement. It infuses communities with free and low-cost programs (no student is turned away for lack of funds) that provide practical tools like boards, protective gear, and skateboard instruction. Beyond practicality, SLAG’s programming is immersive, inclusive, and aimed at giving people of all ages and backgrounds opportunities to gain confidence and find camaraderie and a sense of identity through skateboarding.
With a matching grant awarded by the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods in 2011, SLAG started the Youth Employment Skateboarding (YES) pilot program, which cultivates leadership skills and employment training for 12- to 23-year-olds through skateboard instruction. YES was able to power through two summers on that grant, but its popularity is growing fast, and funding is crucial to make it possible for the organization to continue to provide affordable, high-quality programming as well as to expand in proportion to demand. That’s where Girls That Shred comes in.
Organized by former SLAG student Jasmin Kwan and Nectar Lounge talent buyer Mario Abata, the benefit will be held at The Vera Project, where Kwan serves as show manager. What better venue to host it than Seattle’s all-ages, experiential learning and arts nonprofit, where Kwan now shares her talents and gifts?
“It’s important for SLAG to continue,” says Kwan, who was a competitive gymnast when she started attending SLAG clinics. “They didn’t allow me to do any other sports. Once I had to lie about how I sprained my ankle dropping into a half pipe. I think I said something [like I was] texting and walking off a curb.” But SLAG, she says, “ignited that spark in me.”
Tonight’s event will feature “vagina rockers” Chastity Belt, Tacocat, Atomic Bride, and Summer Babes, not to mention the surf-rocking Lures, who will represent “boys that shred.” (“They’re female-allied and old friends of mine,” Kwan says.) Door prizes include signed decks, T-shirts, CDs, stickers, and more. Seriously, what’s not to love about an evening of girls kicking ass for a cause, a cause that is girls kicking ass?!
“It’s important for girls to be inspired to keep doing male-dominated anything,” says Kwan. “SLAG empowered me to be in an environment where boys were impressed with my skills, instead of making fun of me for trying.” Vera Project, 305 Warren Ave. N., 956-8372, theveraproject.org. 7 p.m. $10 suggested donation. All ages. Fri., Jan. 10.