Antasia Parker, a mentor with The Service Board based at Youngstown Cultural Center in West Seattle, raps to a crowd at a large party to benefit the organization that helps troubled youth. The party at the Fremont Collective was thrown by Evo, a winter sports retailer in Fremont, celebrating 10 years. Staff and kids from The Service Board attended. CLICK ABOVE PHOTO TO SEE MORE.
Evo winter sports party donates proceeds to Service Board youth at Youngstown Center
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Hundreds poured into the 25,500 square foot Fremont Collective space Friday night at 3506 Stone Way N. to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of snow sports retailer Evo. All entry fees, tips from drinks, and money from an array of silent auction items including skis and apparel benefit West Seattle based Service Board, located at Youngstown Cultural Center on Delridge Way.
The Service Board's staff members, including mentors, and some kids attended, including Ashley Miller, Service Board Executive Director, and Khalil Equiano. 32, Service Board Project Director. He performed rap with mentor Antasia Parker in front of the cheering crowd, many sporting bright orange ski caps.
"I wish I would have been a Service Board kid," Equino told the West Seattle Herald before he performed. "I really needed it in high school. I went to West Seattle High School from 1995 to '97, three years. Then I got transferred, you might say. I got in a little bit of trouble." He grew up across the street from the high school, and, before that, off Roxbury.
"I did a lot of community work in Harlem, Brooklyn, Oakland, getting a good skill set and thought, 'Why not do this for the neighborhood where I grew up?'" he said. "I got nervous during the interview but they accepted me."
Also at the party was Anna Nguyen who graduated Garfield High School last June, and was mentored by Equiano.
"I was one of the youth two years ago and this year I am one of the staff," she said. "I'm an outreach coordinator woking on our food and nutrition program, trying to get food donations. So far the downtown food bank has helped us a lot. We have over 30 kids, mostly low income high school youth. We take kids out to the mountains and teach them how to be leaders and do some life skills. We take them out to the community to engage them in service.
"On program nights we teach them nutrition, how to cook and how to use food, and what's going on in the world," she added. "Through our program a lot of kids have started their careers as activists. I've seen so many of my peers doing so many incredible things. We show these kids that there is a way to go to college. Next year I plan to go to college.
"We have kids who get straight A's, other kids ready to drop out," she said. "Because of our unique mentoring model we can help them all.
"I really wanted to stop high school because it was too much. The person I am today is a lot different than the person I was at 16. I would go to school, then go home. didn't do anything with my life, just hung out with friends. With The Service Board I got involved with an organization that empowers young girls all over Seattle. From then on I just kept working in the community."
"The Service Board is perfectly relevant to what we're doing because they do mentoring and snowboarding while working with kids," enthused Bryce Phillips, 34, of Ballard, who owns Evo. "Without that help the kids may go another direction. We like to do benefits like this all the time. As a business it's not just about selling gear. It's about so much more, tying into the culture working with nonprofits. It's more about what the brand does, and not just about 'buy low, sell high.'"
"We love what Evo has done for the Northwest and we're all building a bigger pie," said party guest and fan of The Service Board, Greg Whittaker, founder of Alki Kayak Tours and Mountain to Sound Outfitters in West Seattle. "All the shops have got to work together."
Evo's lease on the space includes a 7,000 square foot skateboard park in the basement. They intend to lease portions to mixed use retailers.
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