"Kids need three things: a place to go, something to do, and people who care about them."
Mike Smith – Founder
Each quarter, Union Bank's Community Involvement Committee will highlight a local nonprofit. This quarter the spotlight is on The BAY. The work at The BAY is centered on creating opportunities for youth to connect them with positive activities, positive adults, and the community. The BAY defines its work in terms of building core values, supportive structures and skill sets in youth. The goal of this strength-based work is to nurture resilience, shape competencies, teach tangible career skills, encourage independence, form positive support systems and inspire hope for the future. The BAY's three programs include:
The BAY Lincoln
The BAY contains safe communities for young people to explore creative passions including skateboarding, music, art, and coffee. Their massive skate park provides a safe place for people to learn and practice skateboarding. Art of all forms is celebrated through events centered around different mediums, and there are developing plans for a new digital art space. Music is performed and celebrated in the all-ages concert venue, as well as fellowship and job training at the Coffee Bar. Mentors coordinated through Big Brothers Big Sisters are paired with young people utilizing The BAY and its services. Additionally, The BAY has staff dedicated to recognizing and preventing sex-trafficking, as well as programs to help those affected by sex-trafficking to become reestablished in the community. In conjuncture with the Food Bank of Lincoln, there is a monthly food distribution program on-site for those in need.
Skate for Change
Skate For Change was started by The BAY founder, Mike Smith, but it is now carried out by youth all across America. What started as a simple exercise of kindness became a worldwide movement. There are currently 109 chapters around the world, with over 10,000 skaters registered. The goal of Skate for Change is to empower youth through skateboarding and teach them that giving back isn't hard by promoting community outreach.
The Harbor is a free educational video resource created for schools by renowned youth speaker, Mike Smith Live. Each episode of The Harbor will provide students with real perspectives from real people that will help them achieve greater success both in and outside of school by focusing on themes that we feel are not adequately addressed under the standards of today's educational system. The current season (produced and distributed in partnership with Jostens), was accessed by 18,000 schools and had an estimated 27,000,000 viewers.
How you can help:
- Follow The BAY on social media and share their vision
- Make a monetary donation online
- Volunteer to be a mentor at The BAY through Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Volunteer your time for the monthly food distribution program
To learn more about The BAY and its programs, see upcoming events and concerts, or to donate to their various causes, visit www.thebay.org. If you have a Lincoln based organization that you support and would like others to learn more about, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.