Max Coleman ’13 learned a valuable lesson this summer: to speak up. This led him to an internship with the city of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, which built the Westchester Skate Park.
"If you care a lot about something, you have to get involved with it," said Coleman, an urban studies major at Loyola Marymount University. "Every kid wants a skate park, but you have to learn to do it yourself and getting involved can be a lot easier than you think."
Earlier this year, Coleman attended a community meeting concerning the future of Westchester Park and spoke up in favor of building the skate park. After the meeting, Clarence Griffin, director of local and community relations at LMU, connected with Coleman and eventually helped him get an internship with the Department of Recreation and Parks.
"I’ve been skateboarding for a long time and I’ve always wanted to work for the city," Coleman said. "I knew the two would somehow coincide, but I wasn’t sure how."
Coleman interned for Craig Raines, landscape architect for the city who has built 10 skate parks. Coleman worked on several projects related to the building and construction of the Westchester Skate Park. Construction began in May 2011 and the skate park opened on July 22. Also, Coleman worked with world champion skateboarder Steve Berra and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl’s office.
"The park creates a community of skateboarders," Coleman said. "It also creates a sanctuary that lets us skate in a safe area without the fear of getting hit by a car."
Coleman now sits on the Westchester Park advisory board. The board deals with various park issues including event management, safety issues, graffiti removal, park maintenance and sports camps. In the future, Coleman said he’d like to work full time for the city.
"I’m happy to see people using the skate park now," Coleman said. "I try and go there as much as I can. It’s a very well constructed park and the people who built it did a great job."