Valley nonprofit empowers young girls, teaches them how to skateboard

There's a group of girls in the Valley who are breaking stereotypes and proving that young girls can skateboard, too. The nonprofit, Phoenix Skate Rising, uses the sport to teach leadership skills.

All of this is about building leadership skills that'll carry these girls through their lives. Because the sport is male-dominated, they say it's important for them to have a place to learn with each other.

Griding, carving, and riding — it's not just for the boys. That's what Phoenix Skate Rising is all about. It's a nonprofit based in Phoenix. They teach young girls, ages 4 - 8, how to ride and pull off tricks on a skateboard.

"Many girls love skateboarding and Skate Rising is a safe environment created to have girls come in and learn with the pros how to skateboard," said Stacy Lovell, program manager for Phoenix Skate Rising.

"There weren't any other girls skating, maybe one or two at the skatepark when I would go," said Natalie Das, assistant program manager.

Das is a professional skateboarder. She remembers what it was like to one be one of a few female skateboarders growing up — she wants other girls to feel included. Now, she pays it forward and coaches the young girls aspiring to skateboard like her.

"It's so exciting to see them progressing," Das said. "If I see a trick they've been working on, the amount of joy she's feeling — I'm feeling it with her."

But it's more than just learning to skate. The nonprofit teaches the girls important skills that'll help them become leaders in the future.

"Watching our daughters fall down and get up again, perseverance, [and] challenging your fear," Lovell said. "Working through things that are hard in life and channeling in through skateboarding.

And they hope other girls see this and have the courage to give it a try, too.

They meet the third Saturday of every month at Wedge Skate Park. It's free and you don't need any experience.