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Local skatepark home to suicide prevention benefit

by Brianna Bush - Executive Editor
Tue, Sep 10th 2019 11:50 pm

 Sweden Town Park was full of life on Sunday, Sept. 8. The reason for all the bustle was The Skate to End Hate, an event and benefit to bring awareness to the prevention of suicide. It also served as a safe place for anyone to come and talk about the struggles they may have encountered. 

The founders of the event, Nate Riexinger (Rexy), 17, and Kyle Matthews, 18, came up with the idea for the event after their friend’s death. They did not want anyone else to experience that kind of loss and wanted to help support those who have been through it before. 

In addition to founding The Skate to End Hate, Rexy and Matthews are both entrepreneurs. Rexy acts as drummer and occasional lead singer for band Element 36. While Rexy is in a band, Matthews is the CEO of Infamous Street Co., a clothing organization stationed in Rochester, NY. 

During the benefit, both Matthews and Rexy took to the front of the stage and addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out and gave a small run down of what they did, and how far they had come in such a small amount of time. 

Matthews went first. He went into detail about why he and Rexy decided to start this benefit. He explained how the event was just a thought at the end of May 2019 and how it blossomed into this event. 

“It’s a lot of hard work and there were nights where we’d be trying to get work done and writing stuff down — planning stuff,” Matthews said. “It’s difficult, but to see everybody come out here and enjoy themselves and donate their time, is far more than we ever expected.” 

Rexy continued to reiterate what Matthews had said. 

“This was genuinely just an idea up until today,” Rexy explained. “This was a bunch of numbers and words on a piece of paper, and we went ‘well, I hope it’s gonna work.’ We did all we could on our end to make sure that we could get people here. We did news interviews, we did radio, we did word of mouth, our Facebook, our everything. But in reality, nobody could have shown up, and we would have been like, ‘oh dang, that sucks.’” 

Rexy went on to explain that all venders donated a portion of their profits to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). He made it clear that he hopes the benefit will grow into an annual event. 

“Suicide is something that has affected my life, and I know that it has affected Kyle’s life,” Rexy said to the crowd. “It’s affected my band, it’s affected just my whole world and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of you. So for you guys to come out to support our cause, to support local business and to support AFSP, it means more than you actually know.” 

The event was set up so it could be open for any age or background. There were 10 booths set up in the front, each having its own niche. Many of them catered to skaters, selling brand name clothing or skateboard decks and accessories. Other booths had food or representatives from local businesses. 

At the back, where the skate park was located, there were two more booths set up that catered directly to the skaters, having helmets and skateboards, along with raffles like the booths in the main area. 

The skate park was full of people riding skateboards, bikes, scooters and even the occasional pair of rollerblades. The ages of the skaters were also diverse, as well as the skills of the skaters on the ramps. 

There were some that knew what they were doing, performing gravity-defying stunts, and others who told their friends to stand at the bottom of one of the smaller ramps and catch them as they slowly rolled down. 

Robbie Rademacher explained why the “skate” part of the event was so important. 

“A skatepark is where friendships are built — where one’s will is tested, creativity is nurtured and perseverance humbles your soul,” Rademacher said. “Skateparks offer a safe-haven for kids who may not find this through community groups, extra-curricular activities or even within their own homes. They [the skateparks] offer creative, but also physical outlets for those who may not have the means to acquire the gear that is necessary to participate in some of your more conventional team sports.” 

He said this pertained to him; living with a single mother, he could not always do what the other kids did. He turned to skating as his outlet, and learned to help others use it as an outlet as well. 

“Skateparks teach us to deal with our failures,” Rademacher explained. “Sometimes you’ll try a trick for hours and you go home defeated — maybe with a sprained ankle. But other times… You push yourself to the breaking point, both mentally and physically. Sprained ankle or not, your reward is something no price tag can be put upon.” 

Rademacher also thanked everyone who came out to the event and all the venders, giving a special thanks to Rexy, Matthews and the representatives from AFSP. 

Rexy announced to the crowd they will be posting the amount of money they raised as soon as it is tallied out on Instagram and Facebook pages, @theskatetoendhate. 

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