Social Connectedness is the answer

VOLUNTEERISM REQUIRES A LEVEL OF PRIVILEGE. 

Privilege of time. 

Privilege of money.

Privilege of capacity. 

If you are working a full-time job with a young family to take care of – finding extra space in your calendar to volunteer is extremely limited – despite how much you might want to do it. 

That’s why at STOKED we feel beyond grateful to have so many volunteer mentors who give roughly 8 hours of their time each year to teaching students from New York to LA how to surf, skate and snowboard. 

Recent research suggests that it’s this social connectedness – especially between people who live in places where poor people have more rich friends, that make economic mobility outcomes better. 

The results of the study were mind-blowing, “The study found that if poor children grew up in neighborhoods where 70 percent of their friends were wealthy — the typical rate of friendship for higher-income children — it would increase their future incomes by 20 percent, on average.”

These cross-class friendships – like the ones often experienced between our youth mentees and volunteer mentors had a “stronger impact than school quality, family structure, job availability or a community’s racial composition,” the research found.  Pairing people up from different economic backgrounds for extended periods of time have proven to have positive effects on children. 

Recently, at a STOKED surf session in LA, I spoke to a brand new STOKED mentor about why he was spending his full Saturday teaching kids to surf when he told me, “I’m actually new to LA and I wanted to meet new people. I thought, ‘What better way than to do that through the sport I love most’ and who knows – maybe I can help inspire the passion I have for surfing into someone just getting started.” I love that this mentor’s first stop into building his own connectedness in a new city was through STOKED. 

Mentors are critical to our programs, instilling confidence and core values, and challenging all STOKED youth to become resilient leaders. Our mentors provide guidance, support, and consistent encouragement in a variety of ways, whether virtually or through sports and other activities. At STOKED, we acknowledge that we got to where we are today because of the people who championed our growth. 


Interested in being a STOKED mentor? Take the first step right here.

February 2024
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