July 25th 2017 progress report

The skatepark Land was donated by EWM Investments.

The first phase of Roots Skatepark was provided by the hard work of volunteers and in-kind donations of labor and machinery within the North Hawaii community and ten thousand dollars grant support from the Tony Hawk Foundation in 2008.

The Atherton Family Foundation provided funding to begin construction on the second phase. 

Due to the change of administration in both the county of Hawaii parks department and mayors office COUNTY OF HAWAII FUNDING PLEDGES HAVE BEEN WITHDRAWN! A 75K setback and heartbreaking news despite first pledges of support date back to 2012. 

The parks and recreation department pledge of seventy five thousand no longer exists.

However , our former district council woman Margaret Wille’s pledge of seventy thousand is secure and will help with costs of materials. Margaret and newly elected District nine council man Tim Richards both supported a discretionary fund grant for Roots Skateparks immediate plans for expansion of the facility. The phase two construction budget is set at one hundred fifty thousand dollars, leaving the balance of 80 thousand to be raised by the community to make this project happen. 

Roots Skatepark has become a popular facility for the youth of Hawaii and provides a safe place for kids to skateboard and be a part of the community.

 The second phase expansion will provide an additional 5000 square feet of beginner and intermediate skateboard terrain for an improved user experience.

Sincerely, Richey Riggs

Volunteer Director


2017 Go Skate Day!


It’s 10 a.m., Sunday morning, July 16, and people are already gathering at the Aloha Gas Station in Kapa`au for Kohala’s 9th annual Go Skate Day. Skating doesn’t officially start until 10:30, but now people are gearing up for the event: practicing moves, greeting friends, buying Roots Skate Park tee shirts at $15 each. Go Skate Day is, in part, a fundraiser for the skate park just down the road. But mostly, according to Richey Riggs, volunteer director for Roots Advocates for Youth, this day is “a community party,” a chance for everybody to have some fun.


Shortly before 10:30, the skaters gather for group photos; even some of the photographers are on skateboards. The atmosphere is festive. Skaters hold up their boards, excited to be part of the action. And they’re off!


Suddenly the road teems with people on wheels, and a few on foot. Vehicular traffic has been blocked to give the crowd safe passage as they travel toward Kamehameha Park, where Roots Skatepark waits in the far back corner, across from the Intergenerational Center.

Richey estimates that the number involved in today’s Go Skate Day falls between 120 and 150 people. Not all of those are on the road–aside from skaters, participants include sponsors, people manning the concessions stations, parents and friends and supporters–but the colorful flock streaming along the pavement must include more than 80.


Not all of those on wheels are kids; some adults fly along the road, too. And not only skateboards join the parade. Bicycles, roller skates, razor scooters with handles, ripstick boards on two wheels, even a few motor scooters join in. At least three of the bicycles pull wheeled attachments with babies or toddlers riding behind. Parents or older siblings trot along or cycle next to some of the younger skaters. At least one surfboard (a shortboard) has been converted into a skateboard.


The first Go Skate Day took place in 2009, although the skate park didn’t open until 2010. The community event helps to raise funds because not enough money has been raised to cover costs of building and expanding the facility. Earnest Moody donated the land in 2007 at a value of 280 thousand dollars

Margaret Wille, Kohala’s former councilwoman, advocated for $70,000 from the county council, which was approved. However a matching fund contribution from the COH parks and rec department has been rescinded which is a major setback to the budget.

Various sponsors have contributed cash, equipment and labor to build the skatepark, designed and constructed by Brian Sandlin of Abstract Concrete Pumping. But even with all that help, more is needed. Currently, Roots is actively fundraising to begin phase 2 of the project, and contributions are always welcome.


Once at the skatepark, the skaters are eager to show the admiring crowd what they can do. Many, though not all, wear helmets and kneepads. The audience sees some impressive stunts and some wipeouts, too, but no one is hurt. How do you start learning this sport without killing yourself? Richey laughs at the question. “You’re going to fall while you’re learning.”


Bonnie Stevenson says, “When I separated from my husband, skateboarding is what saved my son, David.” Kohala didn’t have a skate park at that time, so Bonnie and David have been avid supporters of Roots. “There are lots of stories like that,” Richey says. His statement is easy to believe after watching the level of excitement, dedication and sheer self-discipline that grips the skaters.

Story written by Anne Fojtasic for Kohala Mountain News

Photos by Anna Pacheco and Richey Riggs


Go Skate Day 2016

This year Roots Advocates for Youth held the eighth annual “Go Skate Day” celebration and it was a really good time. Skateboarders, roller skaters, bike riders and some ingenious hand crafted creations were all in motion down Akoni Pule Highway and blissfully weaving and rolling towards Roots Skate Park in Kapa’au Hawai’i.

The road closure was enacted in partnership by our local Hawai’i Police Department and led by our community police officer “K J”. We truly

appreciate the cooperation of our local law enforcement to provide such an incredible activity for the youth and families of Kohala.

In attendance at the event our Council Woman Margaret Wille was promoting the skatepark second phase construction and informing the community about the addition of a much needed new bus route and service to Kohala. Additionally the festivities were grooving to the live music provided by Solar Wind and the Pau Hana Pickers. Food was provided from the Blue Dragon-Noah Hester and the Dragon Wagon , Brian Hart -Island Crave Shave Ice, Forrest Elmers Acai Bowls with locally sourced bananas donated by Ben Barclay, fresh lime juice donated by Tommy Gomes, camp style grilling of burgers and dogs by Gina and Ryan Lafferty, and delicious Kombucha brewed by Nakoa Sutton.

Skateboarding was the focus and it was so fun to take part in the parade and watch the action go down on the basketball court and at the skatepark. There were best trick competitions happening on the court and at the skateparks with winners taking home prizes provided by this years sponsors, Millers Surf in Kona, and Dan Madsen of Oasis skate shop in Hilo Town. Much appreciation for running the events go to Brian Sandlin, Everett Rosecrans, Shane Anderson, George Orton, and Jessica Amber.

The silent auction and t-shirt sales were also a great success specifically due to our   “Skate Day” donors and the volunteer help of Brandy Sugse, Kimberly Lepold, Barbara Angerstein, Nicole Pemble, Ihilani Cypriano, and our fearless organizer Charlene Sandlin. There were also lucky number drawings and many prizes and swag for the cause which brought excitement, goodies, and smiles to take home.

The EIGHTH  ANNUAL SKATE DAY event took place this year on Fathers Day and it could not have been more appropriate to bring families together.  Working fathers,mothers, aunties, uncles, brothers,and sisters all made time to celebrate our youth,our community, and our willingness to stay the course in raising funds for skatepark expansion and providing something exceptional specifically for having FUN. Skateboarding.

The hard work becomes worth every minute when we overhear a child proclaim “I wish we could do this EVERY DAY !”

We would like to thank our supporters….

Margaret Wille, Mayor Billy Kenoi, The Dorrance Family Foundation, The Russel Family, Andy and Penny Alcoran, Jeani Navarro, Brian and Charlene Sandlin-Abstract Pumping, Takata Store, Arakaki Store, Oasis Skate Shop, Millers Surf, Aqua Engineers ESOP-Dudley and Susan Caravalho, Anna Pacheco Photography, Kohana Bath and Body, Hawi Tree Services, Imua Massage Therapy, Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine, Kohala Village HUB, Kohala Village INN, Island Crave Shave Ice, Kohala Car Tow, Syco Hawaii-Printing, Boys To MEN Mentoring Hawaii, Solar Wind, Pau Hana Pickers, RPM-Raymond Pineda Mechanical, Hilo Skate Plaza Coalition, The Kohala HPD-and CPO Officer “KJ”, County of Hawaii Parks and Recreation Department, Maki Sun Island Boutique, and the Kohala Lions Club

April 20 2016 Update/ Go Skate Day

Aloha Team,
It is time to prepare for the upcoming Go Skate Day! 
It will be the best opportunity for us to have FUN skateboarding in the street down Akoni Pule highway, from Aloha gas station down to the skatepark and enjoy fellowship, great food, and of course fundraise for the second phase of construction at Roots Skate Park. This year we plan to have the event on Fathers Day, Sunday , June 19th. 
This is an opportunity for families to take part in this event and help support the skate park. So, all of you dads and moms can participate with your skaters by joining us for the parade and festivities at the park.
This is an invitation for each of you to bring your ideas to the table for what we want to provide for activities so we can commit to planning for the date. Food, live music, and free skate sessions at the park and on the basketball court, Roots fundraising movie premier, and guest of honor Margaret Wille. 
Please respond to this email as we prepare for June 19 and the exciting opportunity to ride on a closed highway specifically to celebrate skateboarding and the youth of our community. 
As an update to our funding status…….70 thousand dollars has been set aside for labor from 
council woman Margaret Wille and an additional 35k was approved by Hawaii island Mayor Billy Kenoi to make 70 thousand dollars that has been earmarked for materials from the County of Hawaii Parks and Recreation Department which creates a total of 140 thousand dollars in support.
Any additional funds that we can raise will supplement the labor and materials budget. We are currently working towards submitting drawings to be made into construction blueprints and have them approved by parks and recreation department. From there we have to put the labor out to bid from state certified vendor/contractors, the bids are reviewed and an award goes to the lowest bidder. From what we have learned this process takes three months and once we have a contractor to oversee the labor we can begin construction of the second phase.
Richey Riggs2Q1A9981-XL

Embroidered Roots Hats and full color Roots Decals for sale!

hats NEW

Support phase two construction by purchasing a beautifully embroidered

LOGO BALL CAP , VISOR OR  BUCKET HAT or even a full color 4″x4″ decal for you or a friend!

Individual Hats are $35 , INCLUDES shipping ,additional hats are $29 each specify color preference and e-mail us at skate4roots@yahoo.com , Full Color Decals are $2.50 each

Christmas is approaching so place your orders now!

Mail orders only

Make checks payable to Roots Advocates for Youth

P.O.Box  946

Kapaau HI 96755



circle for D IMG_0892 Aloha Supporters! Now listing the levels of sponsorship for donor recognition tiles. Bronze would begin the donor tiles at $1000, Silver 5K , and Gold 10K donation to the second phase construction of Roots Skatepark. Maybe someone wants to go Platinum! Also ,the Memorial Tile versions will go for $500 and can be printed with a color photo and type face. These products are designed and sold by our community supporters at Syco Hawaii, in Kapa’au.IMG_0813