ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — There’s a new movement in Atlantic City — the R.A.D. Movement — and it’s really cool.
Founded by area natives Greg Simmons, Jason Klotz and their skateboarding friends, this movement focuses on introducing area youth to skateboarding as an alternative to negative activities that they might choose when looking for things to do.
Greg and Jason both left the area after graduating from Oakcrest and Atlantic City High in 2002 and 2006 respectively.
They returned to the Atlantic City area to find what they call a “cultural void.”
Skateboarding is a culture, they explain to me, one they consider as a form of artistic expression rather than competition, though they know of skateboarders who compete. Last summer, for their first beach clean-up, they invited professional skateboarder Quim Cardona, who showed up to participate in the two-day event much to the delight of the 20 kids who participated. After the clean-up, they headed over to Gardner’s Basin for a boat ride and afterwards they were treated to a barbeque at Boom’s Market in A.C. and a water-balloon battle.
Though Greg and Jason like to include such fun activities, that is not the main focus of R.A.D., which stands for recreation and development and renaissance and discover among other things. They include the fun stuff, because they remember what they wanted and needed as young boys.
Greg says he began skateboarding with another latch-key friend (Devon Connell, now in Focus Skate Magazine) who showed him an ollie, where you make the skateboard jump off the ground. It was a way for them to entertain themselves until their parents got home from work. Jason began around the same age as Greg, around 12 or 13. He had tried surfing, but it didn’t appeal to him. Eventually, both young men fell in love with skateboarding and wanted to pass it on as a way of giving back to their community.
After high school, each went on to college, Greg to the Art Institute of Philadelphia (graphic design) and Jason to the Philadelphia College of Art (film and editing). They say skateboarding is relatively new in some of southern New Jersey but has a big, tight-knit community in Philadelphia, on the East Coast and in other parts of the country. They wanted to create an awareness here in Atlantic City for local youth.
While practicing behind the baseball field at Sovereign Avenue and the Bay, young children, mainly boys 11-17 who live nearby, began inquiring about their skateboarding skills.
Next thing you know, Greg, Jason and their friends were mentoring to the youngsters who showed up daily. They also began donating their used boards to the youngsters. R.A.D. grew organically from their efforts, and they were even able to acquire sponsors for the beach clean-up day, local and distant businesses and skateboard shops.
Greg and Jason said they would like a relationship with the CRDA, because they are the young artists in touch with the youth in this area. So far, they have not been able to establish such a relationship, but they are planning another event, this time a basketball and skateboarding mix.
After being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the Chelsea Area location recently re-opened with a completely new facility to continue its mission, a mission now more than 150 years old.
"We think we have the money set aside. We've identified the funding. We believe we have a good site but we may determine that there are other sites that we need to review as well."
Last fall, Sisters Together Against Racism (STAR) invited a speaker to inform us about human trafficking in our area and to see if there was anything that we could do to help stop the spread of this fast-growing criminal enterprise which is so prevalent in our society today. We recently found out that we could help by posting important numbers in the bath stalls of women’s restrooms, numbers alerting authorities and numbers that can be called anonymously. We were shocked to find out the large numbers of victims in our area. New Jersey’s close proximity to New York City , its many farms and its long coastline make it a good place for people to exploit immigrants and farm workers, many of whom are children. Our many recreational and resort areas with massage parlors, spas and other types of “pampering” facilities also exploit people who may not have proper working papers for legal employment. Most STAR members didn’t know that trafficking had to include force, fraud or coercion. Often girls and women are kidnapped or tricked and their passports or other identifying documents are taken away from them. They may have thought that they would have legitimate employment...
George Jackson opened the Steel Pier in 1898, less than 50 years after Atlantic City’s incorporation. He was followed by owner Frank P. Gravatt, a showman who realized the public’s appetite for an eclectic mix of entertainment in one location at one price, 25 cents.
We didn’t use the term “food desert,” but we knew exactly what consumer advocates meant when they declared our city one. Food deserts are communities where residents have little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes fresh meats and dairy products are also included.
Homeopathy is very patient-specific and Dr. Bohle said she gathers a lot of information before considering possible remedies for an individual.
When are we going to hear more talk about the many efforts available to help parents, teen and otherwise, deal with their own lack of parenting skills, feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, depression and outdated employability skills?
Writers, directors, producers, actors and friends mingled with Michael and Harriet Diamond in their cozy place where a spread of assorted salads, pastas, sandwiches and drinks awaited us after the screening of Pandora’s Box at Dante Hall last Saturday evening.
We cannot let something as superficial as skin color determine how we will vote.
Plus Atlantic City Restaurant Week preview, Drew Toonz and bandleader Vince Giordano on 'Boardwalk Empire' soundtrack winning a Grammy.
A.C. Youth Exposure has a curriculum that includes everything from mentoring, tutoring, job and scholarship counseling, college and career exploration, to field trips. Modeled after the five-year-old Youth Exposure program in Plainfield, N.J., it is designed for students in grades 5th through 8th, a group sometimes overlooked by other programs.
Community Updates – Fall 2013