Dowser Video: Steve Larosiliere, Stoked Mentoring
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.