CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KSEE) – Rehabilitation through art.
Rodney Rodriguez collected a batch of freshly painted skateboards from the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.
The boards will be auctioned off to raise money for Fresno Skateboard Salvage, Rodriguez’s initiative to share skateboarding with kids who can’t afford to buy one.
The designs are unique. Each was created by an inmate like Angela Zuniga who loaded her board with symbolism.
“I tried to bring a lot of color to it and send a message. Butterflies mean freedom and like I said about the tiger, it’s being fierce,” said Zuniga.
The art represents more than meets the eye. It’s a step toward rehabilitation and giving to kids in the community, rather than taking.
“I’m an ex-gang member so the lifestyle I lived it was a lot of crimes. So, finding a way to give back to the community I’ve been a participate in destroying, for me I was really eager because this was a way to give back,” Zuniga said.
“I wish I had this when I was younger instead of a gun, something to motivate me in a different way,” said inmate Arsenia Hernandez.
Rodriguez says growing up in Calwa, his love of skateboarding kept him out of trouble. He now works with local prisons to give the inmate artists a chance to take part.
“You would hardly think you’re in a prison with all the smiles and laughter, it’s an incredible place to be,” said Rodriguez.
Fresno Skateboard Salvage received a big check raised by inmates and fifteen new boards designed by them, to help local kids roll through life on the right path.
The boards will be auctioned off in the coming weeks on the Fresno Skateboard Salvage Facebook page.