Snowboards line the hallways of the Los Angeles office of Stoked Mentoring, a nonprofit organization that uses action sports and mentoring to teach life skills to teenagers in L.A. and New York.
Joy Bryant and Mazdack Rassi arrive at 6 a.m. to volunteer for Snow Mentor, Stoked's snowboarding program that teaches teenagers to think big, be creative, and set goals.
At the beginning and end of the day, the entire Stoked group holds a "circle." The circle is where people share with and learn about each other. The theme of this day was "Creating a Vision for Your Future."
Joy told Stokers about her experience being raised by her grandmother in the South Bronx, and then ending up at Yale. In high school, she posted a map of Yale on the back of her door, so every day she saw it and knew one day she'd be there.
The bus ride was supposed to take about two and a half hours to get up the mountain, but there was so much snow that it took five. At least we stayed upbeat!
Stoked Mentoring matches teenagers with adult mentors. Mentor Johanna Jara is proud that her mentee, Leti Baharona, will be graduating high school this June.
Joy Bryant with mentoring pair Karen Ibarra and Miki Reynolds. Fresh powder made it a blast to be shredding on the first day of Snow Mentor. Snow Volunteers, like Joy, work with a mentoring pair and help them to develop their skills and confidence.
Stoked supporter Joy Bryant with Stoked Cofounder Steve Larosiliere. Stoked Mentoring was founded by Steve and Sal Masekela (of the X Games and E!'s
Daily Ten) in 2003 to serve teenagers in Los Angeles and New York.
Stoked develops successful teenagers with opportunity, knowledge, experience, and determination. Here are Executive Director Steve Larosiliere, volunteer Mazdack Rassi, mentee Emmanuel Galvez, and volunteer Scott Cornwall.
Stoked Mentoring partners with Snow Summit in Big Bear. Snow Summit donates an instruction class and lift tickets, and has been a partner for four years now. All gear is donated by action sports companies and individuals.
Volunteers like Laura Jordan are experienced riders and snowboard enthusiasts who are looking to share their passion for action sports with others.
Mentor Ann Kaatz is stoked to be in the snow. She and her mentee, Jessica, have been part of Stoked Mentoring for four years, since the program started in Los Angeles.
Despite low visibility on the mountain, the leadership and commitment from Joy and Steve was clear for all to see and admire.
Mentoring pair Elvis Figueroa and Raj Hungund line up for the ski lift.
"Since I’ve been in Stoked, I see myself as outgoing. I was shy before I joined. Here, I get to meet new people and get advice from my mentor," Karen Ibarra shared. Get involved and learn more at