Sports club keeps youth off wrong track

From the dark underworld of gangs into the vibrant world of sport. Honduras' non-profit club Skate Brothers has been pulling in young skaters, freestyle dancers and even singers.
From the dark underworld of gangs into the vibrant world of sport. Honduras' non-profit club Skate Brothers has been pulling in young skaters, freestyle dancers and even singers.PHOTO: EDUARD RODRÍGUEZ

HONDURAS • Gendrik Torres, 19, left violence behind and found shelter in sport, thanks to a skating club in Cofradia, a community south of San Pedro Sula, one of the places with the highest crime rates in Honduras.

"I do these acrobatic tricks on bikes, but I'm also a skater. I was on the wrong track for six years; I was looking for an adrenaline rush on the streets and found one here that doesn't put my life at risk," he said.

As of last December, the country's homicide rate was 42.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the world.

"I love coming here because there is a family atmosphere and it stops you from thinking about getting into gangs or things like that," said skater Bayron Rodriguez, 13.

Gendrik and Bayron are among 70 children and young people who are part of Skate Brothers, a non-profit club where they can practise rollerblading, skateboarding, acrobatics, modern dance and football.

Mr Jessel Recinos, 27, started Skate Brothers in 2011 to keep young people off the streets.

"I joined a gang when I was 15, but in 2005 my life changed after I was shot. The last bullet went through my back and came out above my heart," said Mr Recinos. "As I watched the blood run out of my chest, I promised God right there that I would leave this dark world behind. The doctors didn't understand - I survived by miracle."

 

The project has received donations from the United States Agency for International Development, via the Alianza Joven Honduras programme.

Today, the club has its own facilities and goes far beyond sports; this year some 2,000 inhabitants of the region will also benefit from a nutritional programme.

"We do it out of love," said the founder.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2018, with the headline 'Sports club keeps youth off wrong track'. Print Edition | Subscribe