Words by Sita Narayan-Dinanauth & Arissa Moreno Ruiz
Photography by Jesús Rengifo Saldaña
Arissa Moreno Ruiz never imagined that she would become a skateboarder. Especially when referring to her younger self who was “always too intimidated because I only saw males on skateboards.” It wasn’t until she lived in LA that she saw female riders for the first time. As someone who remembers skateparks before the recent wave of women in bowls, she probably has some wisdom to share with the Peruvian girls she reaches in isolated areas.
She says it was CJF who finally got her on the board.
Arissa in Lobitos, 2021
Arissa is grateful to CJF for many reasons. However, the Peruvian born, USA-educated anthropologist and Director of Development has an intelligence that suggests she chose CJF just as much as CJF chose her. Her gentle determination to encourage more Peruvian women and girls to take skateboarding seriously was noticed by the global team and her name came up pretty quickly when discussing the 2022 CJF Women’s Leadership Award.
Tim van Asdonck, CJF Programmes Director, says of the decision.
The CJF ethos is that skateboarding is for everyone. Going further, CJF know that females like Arissa are in a powerful position to teach young women about expression, safe spaces and boundaries using CJF skateparks.
Alongside her obvious skills, Arissa has worked hard since 2019 to build up the trust of local parents. She’s also observed why parents are more reluctant to let their young girls skate compared to boys.
Arissa and others in Cerrito de la Virgen, 2021'
Arissa’s commitment to CJF since 2020 and her relationship with local parents was something we wanted to reward. We chose to give her 1,727.50 PEN to spend on female-only activities through skate workshops and more in Peru knowing that she would make the money go far.
With her at the helm, we believe she’s the right person to make them feel good in our skateparks.
Thank you for your commitment to CJF and to the local communities who need this in Peru, Arissa.Congratulations on the award!
Follow us on LinkedIn for updates on our interview with the second winner and on Arissa’s progress.
Concrete Jungle Foundation is a non-profit organisation that builds skateparks and runs youth programmes for communities around the world.
If you have the means to support our work, please consider joining our monthly donor programme today.
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Thank you for helping us share the joy of skateboarding and supporting local communities!
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