The Impala Skate Blog 08 March 2024 5 min read

Impala's Community Connections ✨ Meet Concrete Queenz

Impala's Community Connections ✨ Meet Concrete Queenz
To mark International Women’s Day, we reached out to the crew at Concrete Queenz to hear more about how they empower young girls to learn to skateboard in a safe and inclusive space.

The founder, Audrey Faison, who’s been an Education Specialist for 7 years, gave us the low down on how Concrete Queenz came to be. We even see what the girls say about learning to skateboard!

Here's the story...

What inspired you to start Concrete Queenz, and how has the journey been going so far?

From my experience as a teacher, I noticed that in addition to educational disparities and lack of resources, there was a lack of opportunity for kids to play and more specifically a safe place for girls to engage in sports. At this point, I had been skating for about 2 years, and skateboarding truly changed my life. I wanted to bring that same opportunity and experience to the girls at my school.

I started Concrete Queenz in the Spring of 2022 as a teacher-led club after school. I had no real idea of how the program would operate or if there would be any interest. We started with 12 girls in the program, and from that point on there was an overwhelming amount of support from the skate community and there were so many girls that were interested in the program. That was really the first time I was really like “oh, I have something here”.

In the Fall of 2022, I filed for my non-profit status and that year we had 25 girls in the program and then that's when I knew I needed to turn my full attention to focus on this program. I quit my teaching job in June of 2023 and this was the first year that I started working full-time on CQ.

I was able to secure a contract with Green Dot Public Schools, which allowed me to expand to another school site. With programming at two schools, we are now working with 50 girls.

Can you please tell us more about the term “underserved girls”, and any barriers faced in bringing skateboarding to this group of girls? How did the crew at Concrete Queenz overcome these barriers?

Concrete Queenz currently empowers and supports 50 girls, divided equally between Animo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School (AMJ) in Compton and Animo Legacy Charter Middle School in South LA.

At AMJ, an overwhelming 95% of the students face economic disadvantages. There are currently no physical education classes available for students at AMJ, and Concrete Queenz stands as the sole provider of girls' sports programs.

At Animo Legacy Charter Middle School, the student body consists of 99% minority student enrollment and 92% of students facing economic disadvantages. Due to a requirement to test out of double math, a significant portion of high-need students are unable to access physical education classes, leaving them without opportunities for physical activity and health education.

Concrete Queenz is instrumental in addressing these gaps. We provide vital physical and mental health benefits to girls in both schools, and foster a positive impact on their overall well-being. Our program plays a crucial role in promoting inclusivity, confidence, and skill development, particularly for those facing barriers.

Teaching gals to skateboard is such a cool concept! How has skateboarding impacted the lives of the girls? Any inspiring stories you can share?

Skateboarding is the best thing in the world and the impact is tenfold. For a lot of our girls, it's the first time they have been a part of a sports program, let alone a program with only girls. We’ve witnessed their confidence, strength, and independence increase tremendously…but let’s hear it from them:

What do you love about skateboarding?

“I get my mind off of things and I just learn how to do tricks?- Dayra (7th grade)

“It takes me out of my problems. If I have a problem with something when I skateboard, it just goes away”. -Valeria (6th Grade)

“I get to ride my skateboard, taking it home to practice tricks, and learning new ones”.- NaVeah (7th grade)

“When I’m on a skateboard, I feel like I can't balance myself, but I still get back up again and do it again till I can.” -Mya, 7th grade

How does skateboarding make you feel?

“Happy and relaxed”.-Dayra (7th grade)

“It helps me feel calm”. -Valeria (6th Grade)

“Happy”. -NaVeah (7th grade)

“It makes me feel like I could do anything”. -Cheyenne (7th grade)

“Mad sometimes. And joyful when I complete something that I've been working on for a long time, like going down the ramp. I keep doing it because if you don't succeed, you try again.”- Mya (7th grade)

Do all the girls stay motivated to continue skateboarding after the program finishes? How do you keep them motivated to continue skateboarding?

We start with our girls in 6th grade and run the program from October to June with several opportunities over Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer. Over 80% of our girls came back to skate this year, which was amazing. Our girls always stay connected with us on Instagram, and we have an active alumna that comes and skates with us on the weekends. Even if they stop skating, it’s important to us that they always feel like they are a part of our community and will always be a Concrete Queen. :)

How can our own skate squad jump on board and best support Concrete Queenz?

If you're interested in being a mentor with us, you can fill out the Google form that's linked in our bio on Instagram, and we will reach out to you to schedule a welcome call and let you know the next steps for applying to become a mentor. If you're interested in volunteering for another position such as content collaboration or grant writing, you can also reach out to us.

We are also always open for in-kind donations such as skateboards, pads, helmets, clothes, and shoes.

What advice would you give to other girlies who are interested in skateboarding?

Don't give up! Keep skating, even if you only see boys around you. Girls are just as strong and powerful and talented, so keep doing it! Also see if you can find other girls in the community to skate with, and don't be afraid to start a group together to push each other and support one another and love each other through the amazing sport of skateboarding.