BEND, Ore. - Heather Kennedy is a substance abuse counselor who puts skateboards together, but it's more than just a hobby.
"I was inspired by a kid I was working with whose skateboard was stolen," Kennedy said Thursday. "I didn't think he was going to have an opportunity to get another one, and I was just really frustrated about that, knowing how many skateboards are out there not being used. And I just thought someone should do something about it."
So she did. Kennedy founded Central Oregon Sk8 Share last May. COSS is a non-profit organization that collects gently used skateboards and parts, and gives them to kids ages 6 through 17 who cannot afford them.
"Everybody needs a hobby, and skateboarding is one of the best hobbies there is," Kennedy said. "It's physical activity, you're getting exercise, it releases anxiety, it forces you to challenge yourself in ways that you might not in other areas of your life".
Kennedy asks kids who would like to receive a board to fill out an application. The application form includes their name, height and age. It also asks them to write a few sentences about why they want a board.
Since May, Kennedy has made it possible for eight kids in need to receive a complete helmet and skateboard board.
If you are interested in donating boards, gear or parts, you can visit a drop box at Seed of Life Skateboard Company (SOLSK8S), located at 484 SE 9th St, Suite 150, Bend, OR 97702, or at Aspect Boards and Brews, located at 1009 NW Galveston Ave, Bend, OR 97701. You can also arrange for a donation pick-up by sending a message through their Facebook page or emailing them at email@example.com.