Eagle Scout project shines light on city's need for youth facilities

Eagle Scout project shines light on city's need for youth facilities

R.J. Morin, 19, of Woonsocket, catches some air on his skateboard during the "Get Out, Get Up and Ride" event last Thursday at Woonsocket Middle School. Danny Marszalkowski put on the event as part of his Eagle Scout project. (Valley Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)

WOONSOCKET - Kids could be seen in every direction: talking, biking, skate boarding, roller blading and generally having good time.

"Get Out, Get Up and Ride," an event put on by Danny Marszalkowski as his Eagle Scout service project for Troop 2 Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, was held on the grounds of the Woonsocket Middle School for five hours on a hot Thursday afternoon.

Despite the high temps, a constant stream of kids rolled by to try out Marszalkowski's handmade ramps and rails, built with lumber donated from local businesses.

"Craft Skate Shop really inspired me to reach out to the youth in this way," Marszalkowski said of his employer, a Main Street store owned by Susan Kirwan.

Kirwan, who opened the store just steps away from City Hall in 2013, aims to provide local youth with both a place to go and a positive way to direct their energy. An advocate for creation of a skate park, Kirwan also encourages kids to be involved in their communities and to give back, with projects like community clean-ups.

In edition to encouraging local youth to get outside, the event aimed to draw attention to the need for youth facilities in the city and the economic benefit such a resource could bring.

"We want to show people in the city that kids will come out for a good event, and they will spend money," Kirwan said.

To reach out to kids outside his social circle, Marszalkowski pounded the pavement, handing out flyers for the event wherever he could find people, like the local bike path. It took him two days to build around a dozen ramps and rails with lumber donated by Pepin and Beauchemin.

The event included a DJ, an obstacle course, and contests like a tug-of-war and the "sponge bucket" challenge. There were raffles of Craft merchandise - such as helmets, grips and padding - and the Kona Ice food truck was on site.

"The point is to promote both physical fitness and riding safety," Marszalkowski said. Plus, he said, it highlighted the need for more activities for local kids.

"We're trying to interest the city into doing the same kind of thing," he said. "We need something."

The event was dedicated to Troy Rivers, a young man from Woonsocket who died last week, as well as Constance Grant-Kirwan, Susan Kirwan's mother, who died last Saturday.

On a scooter, is 10-year-old Avyanna Palmore, of Woonsocket.
Also taking part in the "Get Out, Get Up and Ride" event is George Lopez, of Woonsocket.
Eagle Scout candidate, center, Danny Marszalkowski poses for a picture with Matthew Goyette and Susan Kirwan, supporters who encouraged him in the "Get Out, Get Up and Ride" event.