Dowser is welcoming new writers/contributors; please send us a note at with a writing sample.

Dowser Video: Steve Larosiliere, Stoked Mentoring

,    /   Apr 2nd, 2010Photos & Videos

Imagine snowboarding for the first time if you had never seen snow: the awe you’d feel on the the lift. The fear looking down from the summit. The sense of accomplishment upon reaching the bottom. Steve Larosiliere, Executive Director of Stoked Mentoring, believes that such exposures can alter the life trajectory of at-risk urban youth. Five years ago he founded the program, which uses skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding as the centerpiece of mentorships in New York and Los Angeles.

One question we kept in mind while making this piece was, given the scale of demand for mentorship in urban communities, is extreme sports a wise allocation of resources? Larosiliere, a former mentee and mentor, says extreme sports not only teach life skills like perseverance and courage, but also cement enduring bonds between mentors and mentees by pushing both parties outside their comfort zones. Accounts like this one from 2009 Mentee of the Year, Eric Tobar, suggest that the program can help young people who lack role models get stoked on life.

5 Responses

  1. Daniel Gomez says:

    I want to sign up to be a mentor. Do you have to have snowboarding/surfing/skating expertise to be a mentor?

  2. Tatiana W. says:

    I love the fact that Larosilliere found a way to combine his two passions–mentoring and extreme sports. Initiatives like this can be very powerful because they they activate new communities (in this case, the extreme sports community) around social change.

  3. [...] a video profile of Stoked’s Founder Steve Larosiliere on It features old video footage from over 5 years ago from our snowboarding and surfing [...]

  4. ricemine says:

    that is totally awesome! Love that its the three S’s- snow,skate and surf!

  5. Lee says:

    good solutions, this is what I called brilliant