Planting Seeds and Designing Skateparks

Planting Seeds and Designing Skateparks

Interview with Jhikson Akamine from CJF Peru

Pictures by Jesus Rengifo Saldaña & Andre Sanchez Villar

You know how it is. Every crew has this one certain person that you can always count on – whatever it is, whenever you call, whatever you’re asking for – this person will be there for you. Jhikson is this special person in CJF Perú, having helped out whenever there was need and desperation. Jhikson is a man of action, not only in helping others, but also in getting on skatepark construction. Although normally there’s no need for long talks with Jhikson, today there is! We got him on to tell us all about his projects at @CJF_Perú.

Good morning Jhikson and thank you for being with us today! First, for those reading and don't know much about @CJF_Peru yet, can you give us a short introduction as to what you’re up to there? And what is your role at CJF Peru?

First of all, I would like to thank Concrete Jungle Foundation for their trust and support.

We’re a local offshoot of CJF here in Peru that uses skateboarding as a tool to stimulate personal development for young people and disadvantaged communities. Currently, with the situation we are going through, CJF Peru has reinvented and adapted to the situation by launching virtual initiatives as well as by working on new projects, such as the new skateparks.

I’ve been involved with CJF Peru for over a year now. Currently I’m in charge of much of the admin, as I study business administration, so they support each other. I’m also part of the Planting Seeds apprenticeship program in which I have worked on the design of the new skatepark in Cerrito de La Virgen. The program will continue with the construction skills once the project starts. Can’t wait.

Jhikson repairing a ramp in Lobitos, Peru

Can you tell us a little bit more about the Cerrito Skatepark?

The project is about the construction of a skatepark in Cerrito la Virgen, Huanchaco. We aim to help the community in general to have a recreational park in which they can enjoy educational support and sports workshops. We have been working on this project for months with CJF International, and now we’re in the 3rd phase, with the construction beginning (hopefully!) in a few months.

You mentioned being involved in the design of the skatepark. Could you tell us a little bit more about that? How did all this happen and what did you do?

The Peru and International teams are collaborating to make all of this happen. And in the early stages, a key part of that involved Harry (Gerrard) teaching us the design process as a part of CJF’s Planting Seeds apprenticeship program. The project had three phases: 1st was conceptualization of the design, and designing obstacles that had accessibility, safety and flow. After that, the 2nd phase involved completing more detailed 2D and 3D drawings of the skatepark. Currently we’re working on the 3rd and final phase, finalizing and sourcing the materials for the construction.

Skatepark design plan for Cerrito, Peru

How about this experience of designing and elaborating your own ideas for a skatepark? What did you like the most in the whole process?

Thanks to the Planting Seeds apprenticeship program, I’ve been able to learn about the designing process of a skatepark, and now I will be able to put the plan into action and build it too! This of course fills me with a lot of satisfaction as I was able to carry out this project and create my own designs by using my imagination and the experience of being a skater myself. Definitely never thought I’d get to do that. The point that I liked the most was to design new obstacles, especially obstacles that we do not find in Peru. Thanks to this project and what I have learned, I will be able to continue designing new projects in Peru too.

Skatepark design plan for Cerrito, Peru

The construction stage of the Planting Seeds apprenticeship program is set to begin in a few months. What do you expect from that experience? Is there anything special you’d like to learn about?

I just hope to learn as much as I can and gain experience from everyone from the CJF International team. Thanks to the apprenticeship being paid I will be involved during construction full-time and I will put my best effort to make it happen. I feel motivated and I have all the energy to start making this a reality. Can’t wait to create something new and safe for the kids.

Of course, this whole project is not only about gaining experience in design and construction, but also about providing a new space for children. In your opinion, why is it important to create these recreational spaces? And why specifically in Cerrito de la Virgen?

Cerrito de La Virgen is a very low-income community where there are no recreational or public spaces. So they definitely need it. CJF International also has an educational program (Edu-Skate) that serves as a great instrument to promote the well-being of the kids there. In the Trujillo/Huanchaco area, this is definitely the right place to make a social project happen. The kids deserve it.

What would you say to people reading this? Why should they support this project?

I believe we should all help and support these places because the kids are vulnerable in every way, and support from authorities is virtually non-existent. We really need everyone’s’ help to continue to help these communities get a better life.

Jhikson from CJF Peru skateboarding

Thank you very much for taking the time, Jhikson! Is there anything else you would like to say? Someone you’d like to say hello to?

Thank you for listening to me and giving me this opportunity! I can only emphasize the call for help to continue collaborating with the community, a greeting to my colleagues and brothers of the foundation and the whole skater community worldwide. We are a team, and this is why we are all involved in these projects.

"We really need everyone’s’ help to continue to help these communities get a better life."

Thanks, and good luck brother!

How can you help?

We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to build the new skatepark and provide programming for the kids in Cerrito de la Virgen. If you can, please donate today!

You can also fundraise through Facebook and share the campaign via social media. And if you have another idea for how you could support the campaign, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

Teamwork makes the dream work. And every push counts.