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Travis Bellantino first picked up a skateboard as a young kid. He learned how to skateboard in the era of “if you can build it, you can skate it.” With no skateparks around, he and his friends requested leftover wood from construction sites to create their own structures.
Several years ago, when the West Valley Skatepark opened, Travis jumped at a chance to teach his son how to skate at a real skatepark. The two of them loved it, and after a while, they decided to try out the skateparks in neighboring cities. To their disappointment, several of the skateparks were temporarily closed due to trash and vandalism. Travis said, “We’re never going to let this happen to our skatepark.”
For five years now, Travis has been going to the West Valley skatepark each morning at 5:30 am to clean the park. He picks up trash, shovels snow, and uses his leaf blower to remove rocks and other debris from the bowl. He gets a good morning ride in as well. His reason for doing it is that “the kids need this place, it’s a place for them.” In all the years he’s been doing it, his friends estimate that he’s picked up about 14,000 lbs of trash.
Over the years, the kids have gotten involved as well. Travis gets the occasional message from kids saying, “Hey! I cleaned the skatepark today!” Travis has also gotten involved in several initiatives like Skatepark Respect and the Utah Skatepark Advocacy Group to continue to better serve the skating youth of the community. Travis says, “Skateboarding teaches these kids a lot of valuable life lessons, the biggest one is don’t give up.”
To find out more about the Utah Skatepark Advocacy Group, click here.
Do you know someone who selflessly gives of their time and effort to help others around them? Nominate them for a Goodness Grant! Each month we will choose one nominee and highlight them as the recipient of our Goodness Grant, which includes a prize of $1,000, to support them in their efforts. To read more stories, or nominate someone for a Goodness Grant, click here.