Written By: Micaela Ramirez and Nick Eliopoulos
Photography Courtesy of: Mimi and Stephen Knoop
Poseiden Foundation Hope Campaign Argentina
“Chewed up tails, wheels down to the bearings, and duct taped shoes- that’s Latin American skateboarding. I couldn’t help but to give back to the skateboard community while in Buenos Aires, Argentina with The Poseiden Foundation. Something as simple as giving a new skateboard to someone who truly needs it goes along way, and even gives them inspiration to continue the sport they love.” –Lorena Lima
Life is a gift. It can take any form reach any expression. Anything can be accomplished through hard-work, passion, and dedication—even action sport feats. Everyone has a will to accomplish something, and amazing potential is realized when aspirations are nurtured during youth: “The consolidation of sports and kids is really effective because where there are sports, there are happy kids with new goals and with their own personal issues minimized,” remarked Pipa Souza, a professional Brazilian skateboarder, while on tour with the Poseiden Foundation in Argentina this past November. Poseiden has been able to help break cultural barriers and acknowledge that every individual has a passion inside of them. By teaming up with professionals from different parts of the globe, Poseiden creates a unique interaction with diverse youth from various cultures and lifestyles. Our aim is to provide compassion, mentorship, community and love for our fellow man; Poseiden develops social change through constant interaction and a gratitude for life.
As Americans, we often take things for granted. We are afforded access to methods by which we can achieve our dreams, goals, and desires. It is the land of bountiful resources. But, these aspirations are universal, extending the world over. The Poseiden Foundation helps people around the world achieve their goals. In a country driven by inflation, economic dependence, and poverty, the people of Argentina are determined to overcome the hardships of rapid globalization. Yet, the real-life, lived-in struggle of working 50-70 hours per week, for an hourly wage of 7-10 pesos, or $1.50-2.00 US, affect all aspects of life in Argentina. The fiscal inconsistency caused by rapid inflation makes it a guessing game as to when, if at all, dinner will be served. This takes its toll, both by the physical aspects of working hard labor, and internally by the quelling of dreams, desires, and aspirations. The Poseiden Foundation’s mission for the Hope Campaign: Argentina tour was to help youth access the universal dreams, goals, and desires we so easily take for granted. We not only offered an opportunity to understand how to attain goals through passion, dedication, and perseverance, but also provided access to resources in and outside of their own communities.
Through our journey throughout Argentina, including Buenos Aires and Mar Del Plata, we were able to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds to establish a global network of change; a space for understanding culture, lifestyle, and opportunity. We asked questions that would give us a more realistic view of life in Argentina. From politics to work, entertainment and cultural values, it was always impressive the lengths that people went to preserve their way of life. Could you imagine working a 14-hour day to provide for your family, only to come home and participate in helping others within your community? The amount of compassion we witnessed was truly powerful, and is something we try to incorporate into our mission and our personal lives as well.
During our two weeks in Argentina, we were fortunate to have Mimi Knoop, one of the founders of The Alliance, a non-profit organization that is geared towards giving female athletes a voice within their communities, on board. As both an activist and an X-Games skateboard medalist, Knoop was able to incorporate needs of the community into the facilitation of creative output. Skating for Change unifies professional female skateboarders and action sports athletes by encouraging young women to actualize their goals, participate in sports, and seek out professional opportunities. Knoop is also the Boarding for Breast Cancer Ambassador, and has traveled with the USO to support troops abroad in the Middle East, bringing them love and support and the Co-Creater of Hoopla Skateboards with Cara-Beth Burnside and Powell Distribution.
The Poseiden Foundation is also proud to have had a wealth of talented athletes on board in Argentina. Lorena Lima, a world-renowned skateboarder from New Jersey who works with young and aspiring skateboarders through her skateboard school, Uptown Skate School. Jessica Florencio a Brazilian skater and X-Games competitor that has traveled with Poseiden since 2007 she is a big advocate in Brazil helping mentor other children on the importance of following their dreams. Photographer Stephen Knoop who also works as the Virginia Aquarium caring for reptiles and amphibians educating his community about the importance of the youth of the world and how its extremely important to find out what makes you happy and to do your best to help others achieve happiness as well. Milton Martinez, a world-renowned Argentinian skateboarder, motivated his fellow countrymen and women to pursue their dreams, and reminded the youth to “always give back to their communities, and to remember those who have paved the way.” He maintains this message by meeting with local youth in his community of Mar Del Plata in order to help them “stay positive.” Finally, Eliana Sosco, a Brazilian icon, activist, skateboarder, and has been on ESPN Argentina, had this to say about Hope Campaign: Argentina:
There have been several tours I have done with Poseiden Foundation, each tour is unique and each one has given me the ability to become more consciously aware of the need to influence and be influenced by the youth. I was able to go to different parks and encourage the younger kids with their skating and speak to them about the importance of setting goals and following their dreams. I gave them pointers at Bristol Skate Park with Milton Martinez and helped set-up a Best Trick competition for 3 different age groups this way everyone could participate. Not only does this help the community of Mar Del Plata understand that, though we may now be considered ‘professionals’, we are still human and find it important to help others through our constant action through interaction, conversations and inspirational speeches. This is what helps us grow not only as a community but also as a person. Each tour I continue to grow, but due to my interactions with the youth, they are the ones who teach me constantly about humbleness, human respect and love. This is why I donate my time to Poseiden to be inspired and to inspire and encourage the youth to follow their dreams.
Tour Travel Log
“To say visiting South America was a humbling experience would be an understatement. I was so inspired and touched after meeting so many amazing kids and skaters in Argentina on the Poseiden tour. Hearing each of their individual stories of daily struggles, and their pure love for skateboarding was so moving. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and it was a true honor to have been able to meet & give back to kids there through skateboarding! I am so stoked to have made some new friends along the way too! Keep skating!”- Mimi Knoop
We arrived to Argentina and met with Girls Assault founders Deeny Suarez and Daniela Quintabani Poseiden Foundations host for the duration of the Hope Campaign. We went to the skate park, Plaza Converse, where we watched and interacted with local skaters before heading to our apartment for the next 2 weeks.
We headed to the airport to pick up Steven Knoop, one of the tours photographers. We then meet with Deeny Saurez and went over the schedule and, thanks to the help of Julio Burneo, an Eco-Tourism and Buenos Aires City Guide, we were able to visit different parts of Argentina and learn about the culture. Burneo reminded us of the economic hardships many people faced due to rapid inflation and how the environment in Buenos Aires is contaminated. He expressed how no one cares that by throwing a “cigarillo” on the ground that this eventually ends up in the stomachs of animals of our ocean floors. He is trying to create the need for people to become more through his understanding of Eco-tourism that we all can be that spark in keeping a clean and healthy environment.
. Later that day, we went to the Hip Hop Culture Club to meet up with other organizations, Skatechikar and Girls Assault, for a game of SKATE organized by Fer Larraya. The prize purse was $1,000 pesos, and the contest was judged by Lorena Lima, a Rockstar Bearings and Etnies Representative, and Deeny Suarez, founder of Girl’s Assault, while Steven and Mimi Knoop had their cameras out, catching every moment. After the contest, the Hip Hop Culture club went to work, and the crew enjoyed watching a breakdancing competition.
We checked out Sudamericano which, was hosted by Girls Assualt, where over 40 girls showed up to skate and support other female’s competitors. Lorena Lima had this to say about the event, “Buenos Aires has an unique female skate scene. Not only is there a lot of girl skateboarders in the city but they all have such an amazing positive energy and are supportive of each other. At the “Girl’s Assault” contest all the girls from Argentina and around the world came together to skate, having fun, and compete in a relaxed atmosphere.” Poseiden Foundation had 3 Best Trick Competitions, which was an invitational event for Am boys for Argentina.
We headed over to the “Feria Mataderos,” an Argentinian Patrimonial Tourist Fair, where we experienced food, folklore, and dances from rich and diverse cultures throughout the different regions of Argentina.
With the invitation of Sonia Patron Costas, Poseiden Foundation’s Youth Outreach Representative and Senior Medical Student/Boarding for Breast Cancer Advocate, we made our way over to Hospital Fernandez in Buenos Aires to meet with parents and children. The experience was not only humbling, but made me experience the gift of life: many of these children expressed their goals and desires to become soccer players, teachers, skateboarders, and activists while sharing smiles in spite of sickness. After the hospital, we had a sendoff for Lorena Lima, who left to finish up her semester at University.
We spent the day at the Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires, a memorial to the Argentinian-Japanese culture, and then headed to the Evita Museum to visit the Memorial of Evita.
Jennie Cianciarulo, a mother of 3 and professional rock climber from Monterrey, Mexico, hosted a Poseiden Foundation and Girls Assault bowl session at her daughter’s bowl “Coco’s Bowl”. We interviewed international skaters Pipa Eugenia, Girls Assault founders Deeny and Daniela, and First Love Distributor’s Nite Founder Fernando Tracz. Afterwards, we saw Mimi and Steven Knoop off to the airport, which was heading back to the United States for Thanksgiving. They departed with a great appreciation for Argentinian culture; thankful of the opportunity to have experienced it’s culture.
We traveled to Mar Del Plata with the generous help of Jeenie Cianciarulo. We made our way over with the Cianciarulo family as well as Deeny, Pipa, and Euli Vieira, Eugenia Ginepro to meet with Adriana Gomez, Milton Martinez, and Eliana Sosco to meet with the local children. Euli had this to say about Girls Assault and why she wanted to travel with Poseiden Foundation to Mar Del Plata, “ Through Girls Assault I have learned the importance of community in girls skateboarding and through Poseiden I have learned the importance of giving back to the community and helping others in need. It was important for me to experience both organizations and how they both work together in bettering the community. Through Poseiden I have become more humbled in how children in Argentina as well as Brazil need mentors and since I came from a back ground where I had mentors in the past I was able to give back to helping other kids”
We met with Adriana, Eliana and Milton, and then went to the Shifty Skate Shop to meet up with Pablo Martinez. Afterwards, we headed over to check out the 27th Festival International de Cine de Mar Del Plata, where we met up with Senor Flavio. Flavio is a very talented bass guitarist and one of the members/founders of Los Fabulosos Cadillac’s, a band that opened the doors to “Spanish Rock”, a fusion of Latin rhythm and beats mixed with ska and rock to represent local cultures.
We went to the Bristol Skate Park in the morning to host a Best Trick contest, and then met with the girls at Playa Grande Skate Park for a session. Then we found our way over the Shifty Skate Shop to meet with Eugenia, Pipa, and Euli, to have a skate session with Eliana, Milton, Deeny, Coco, and the local boys and girls at Miete Skate Park.
Stayed at the Art Factory Hostel where they help expose local and international artist. The hostel is an awesome place, and has a creative and artistic ambience from the moment you walk in. While I met and exchanged stories with several travelers, two of their stories really stuck with me. One was a young man who had been traveling through South American from October until June to expand his mind through the cultural exchange. Another was a young woman that had begun her travels at 18 in dedication to her father. At 23, she works two jobs and goes to school full-time, but never forgets how her father helped her understand the importance and beauty of culture.
With Closing words from Poseiden Foundations Photographer “I cannot fathom what a large majority of the world has to go through on a daily basis being that I don’t have to worry about having enough money to feed myself, or find a safe place to sleep – but I know even in the most heartbreaking situations children can find happiness. Everyone experiences their life through their own eyes. Its important to remember everyone experiences everything differently, you shouldn’t treat people poorly because you don’t understand why they behave a certain way – for all you know they might think how you behave is strange! I have been to a few different places around the world, and if I haven’t learned anything else I’ve learned that what seems normal to me back home can be very strange for people in another part of the world.” –Stephen Knoop
The Hope Campaign Argentina was a success and many thanks to Daniela Quintabani and Denny Suarez for hosting Poseiden Foundation while in Argentina and to our athletes and photographers: Lorena Lima, Jessica Florencio, Mimi Knoop, Stephen Knoop, Eliana Sosco, Milton Martinez and to the girls that joined Poseiden to finish the tour in Mar Del Plata: Eugenia Ginepro, Coco and Jeenie Cianciarulo, Pipa Souza and Euli Vieira. A Special Thanks to: Etnies, Emerica, Stereo, Theeve Trucks, Hoopla Skateboards, Rockstar Bearings, Ace Trucks, Mystery and Zero Skateboards, Fallen, Armourdillo Belts, Lurkville, Khiro, Biomed Supply LLC, Pamela Jean Unlimited, Mike Cantarini. A big thank you to the crew of the All Hands On Deck Fundraiser at Hill Street and to the Local Artist of Southern California, Crew and Staff. Lastly, thank you to The Youth that continue to inspire us in many aspects of life and continues to create hope for the future and our planet. Thank you to all our supporters for helping make Hope Campaign Argentina a reality. –Skate Con Gusto!
Poseiden Foundation’s is a 501(c)3 and our Vision is
“To inspire the youth to dreams and create life-changing experiences through the empowerment of love and support”
The Poseiden Foundation, IncIRS 501(c) 3 Tax Exempt Number is 20-800301
President/Founder Micaela Ramirez
Cel: 760.672.7506 Fax: 760.758.8510 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Poseiden.org and Poseidenfoundation.org
Social Media: Facebook.com/Poseidenfoundation and twitter.com/poseiden
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