Stoked.org Member Spotlight
Our newest This Good World Member Spotlight sees us chat with Steve Larosiliere, founder of Stoked.org. Stoked is an extremely innovative non-profit with the mission to promote personal development, academic achievement, and healthy living to under-served youth through action sports culture. Check out the interview below to read Steve's take on the importance of volunteerism, mentorship and much, much more...
Can you talk a little bit about how mentorship and giving one's time can help someone in need?
In today's world, time is our most precious commodity. No one has time because the amount of information that is floating out there is insane. However, as no one has time, it's also the most valuable. To someone in need, in STOKED's case, young people from underserved communities, it is the thing that has the biggest reward and pays the highest dividend. To the person with time to give, the mentor, their rewarded with the fact that they've made an impact on the life of a young person. Mentors have told me that they've felt like they've received so much. They develop skills such as listening, compassion, confidence, leadership, and sense of belonging to a community. You can't buy that feeling. For the young people who are being mentored, a strong relationship can keep them out of trouble, develop positive relationships, and change their life trajectory. It's a game changer, that's why we aim to work with student for all 4 years of high school.
What's the role that passion in something like action sports plays in driving interest and success in personal and academic development?
I love the fact that action sports is a lifestyle. It's a way of speaking, dressing, and behavior. It also has the ability to change one's perspective. Once you ride a mountain, a hill never looks the same. When you skateboard, a curb or stairs never look the same. But the most important aspects of action sports have to do with our theory called Action Sports Youth Development. Action Sports can accelerate 3 important skills in young people. Resilience, Self-Reliance, and Community. All this translates into our mission of promoting personal and academic development. Young people know that in action sports, you never give up, you can develop your skills to accomplish a goal, and you are part of a community. Ultimately we want to close the opportunity gap for young people.
Why did you choose to be a part of the This Good World community?
I love the fact there's a platform that highlights organizations and projects. We need to put a spotlight on the fact that there are projects and initiatives whose purpose isn't just bottom line motivated. We're stoked to be a part of an illustrious group across the nation.
Are there examples in which you work with or gain inspiration and ideas from other businesses?
Yes, of course. I draw inspiration from the creative community - the advertising industry. Their ability to sell an idea with branding or a feeling. I also am really attracted to the tech community. I've been using the lean startup methodology to create programs for a few years. Also, sports and action sports. Their ability to build community and it's potential to change the world. I love business that think about ways to give back. We have had some great collaborations with Mountain Dew, Vans, and Nike.
Are there any specific "good" initiatives out there that you've really found yourselves drawn to?
I love all the new action sports organizations like Skateistan or Waves for Change. Organizations like Charity Water and Row New York do great and intentional work. I'm really drawn by businesses that focus on solving one thing.
You talked in a recent blog post on stoked.org about the importance of hiring good people. What's your take on the importance of bringing values-driven individuals on board at Stoked?
For a while STOKED operated without deliberate values. They were unspoken, but as we grew it was hard to articulate what we stood for. So we developed our values based on our name. Success, Teamwork, Openness, Kudos, Energy, and Determination. Now that's how we make a lot of decisions, run programs, run board meeting, and do events. It's easy to see when people don't operate from a sense of those values.