Words by Sita Narayan-Dinanauth & Kayla Wheeler
Photography by Pete Beng & Danielle Myers
Kayla’s determination to do what she loves – skateboard – came at a cost she was determined to ride out when she left home a few years ago and in 2022, it seems to have paid off. She studied computer science, she’s doing the sport she loves while being a CJF Edu-Skate teacher and she has a few real-world life-lessons she can share with the women of Jamaica along the way. In 2019, she was instrumental in building Jamaica’s first street skatepark with CJF. If anyone is in a position to shape female skateboarding in Jamaica in the years to come, we believe it’s her.
What are the issues that local women in Jamaica face that could be helped by a CJF award like this?
Kayla in Jamaica, 2021
We discuss how, by reaching females aged 6–16 at the skatepark, she can teach them about harassment before it happens.
Does she think the CJF Freedom Skatepark is a place where females feel uncomfortable too?
Kayla in Jamaica, 2021
What was her role in building Jamaica’s first street skatepark?
Fortunately, she didn’t have to wait long.
Although the skatepark may be a great space for young women, many in the area didn’t know about it until Kayla hosted a skate event for local girls.
And many have already asked Kayla to be a mentor.
Kayla in Jamaica, 2022
What else can we say about why we’ve rewarded Kayla with $116,200 JMD to further female empowerment activities in Jamaica?
Says Tim van Asdonck, CJF Programmes Director. One pearl of wisdom that comes across from Kayla is that when you love what you’re doing enough, you don’t have time to care too much about what others think.
Thank you Kayla for all you have done for women’s skateboarding in Jamaica and congratulations on the award!
Concrete Jungle Foundation is a non-profit organisation that builds skateparks and runs youth programmes for communities around the world.
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Thank you for helping us share the joy of skateboarding and supporting local communities!
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