One Capital Region skate park is bringing wellness to those that go there, and hopes to provide residents with a great way to make new friends and meet people who share similar interests. 

"When I was young, I was afraid to go to a skate park and, you know, you see older guys or people giving you weird looks, and, you know, you got your helmet on, and you're just trying to learn," said skater Kellen Nugent, who is a volunteer at the Noteworthy Center. “Having a place where everyone comes from so we can give back and not repeat those cycles is important.”

Noteworthy Resources of Albany is a nonprofit working to make a big impact in the Capital Region. Their mission is to empower communities and make supportive holistic resources accessible through educational workshops, community events, support groups and skateboarding.

This environment and organization was created by the executive director of Noteworthy Resources of Albany, Tatiana Benack.

“Our skateboarding program is designed to support local people of all ages in learning how to skate and building a supportive atmosphere for them, as well as connecting them to resources for mental, emotional, and social well-being," Benack said.

According to the Viewpoint Center, being physically active positively affects your overall health and can also play a huge role in the fight against mental health. Participating in an activity a few times a week reduces psychological stress by over 30%, according to the center, and those who exercise more than three times a week can decrease stress by almost 50%. The center says sports and active recreation can also make people feel better about themselves and help build confidence and self-esteem.

"It's a good opportunity for kids to get off the streets because they can come here for mental wellness and a whole bunch of other activities to stay off the streets," said skater Khari McLennon.

The skate park aims to provide a safe space for all people to feel included and empowered to skate. Since 2020, the skateboarding program Skate Albany has given many late bloomers, misfits and youth a chance to explore and flourish in the skateboarding world.

According to the Public Skateboard Development Guide, skating is a male-dominant activity, as 77% of all skaters are male, whereas 83% of core skaters are male. But some people say that’s changing. Skater Naomi Ferber says that skateboarding is becoming more diverse than it has ever been. 

“When I first started skateboarding, there weren't many women,” Ferber said. “Women have definitely made history, but they're few and far between. Nowadays, there's a lot more diversity. I see it in the skate park and it makes me feel great."

It’s a place to find another community center with an indoor skate park, live music, mental health support groups and classes for all ages. 

“It's important to have a place like this for skateboarding because there are very few places where we could go outside and skate without someone calling the cops or saying we're destroying property,” McLennon said, "It's a safe haven."