Vice Chair Jesse Matthews, a school counselor and psychology doctoral student, was interviewed for the current issue of gradPSYCH magazine, published by the American Psychological Association. Jesse has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a doctoral candidate at Immaculata University, expected to graduate in August 2012. Jesse works as a counselor at a school for students with learning differences and as an outpatient therapist at a community mental health center. In addition to volunteering on the DSP Board, he runs a monthly teen ADHD support group http://www.chadd.net/template.cfm?affid=222&p=events in Exton and serves on the convention committee for the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) http://www.apa.org/apags/. Jesse is also a married father of three boys, ages 11, 5, and 3.
Here is the article link: http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2010/11/will-work.aspx. The story has little to do with action sports, but is a testament to the hard work that Jesse and others like him put in. Jesse’s volunteer work with the Downingtown Skatepark Organization is no different. Jesse has been skateboarding over 20 years and enjoys late night ramp sessions, skating with his kids in his neighborhood, and taking his son and his friends to the skatepark. Jesse grew up in Coatesville, skated all of the local spots in Coatesville, Downingtown, and West Chester (often getting kicked out!), and regularly travelled miles away to Philly, Wilmington, or faraway skateparks.
Like the rest of the DSP Board who grew up locally and have skated for many years, Jesse knows the value of public skateparks and wants to bring one to Chester County. Being an extremely busy professional and parent, a local park will allow Jesse and other older riders to skate more often- and having children, Jesse and others would have another great place for spending time with their kids. Parents who don’t ride will be able to watch their children do what they enjoy and be a bigger part of their lives, as well as more easily knowing where their children are and what they are doing. Most importantly, local youth will have a safe, legal, and positive place to practice their sports and socialize. With Jesse’s psychology background and his work with children and adolescents, he sees many connections between public skateparks and young peoples’ physical and mental health. Skateparks promote higher self-esteem and self-efficacy, positive social interaction, and increased exposure to diversity. Jesse has done research on the benefits of skateparks and has written extensively on the subject (see earlier blog posts).
A local skatepark- a free, public, professionally-designed and built one at that- is something that Jesse and other local action sports participants have never known. Jesse and the rest of the Board are working hard to raise awareness and funds and are very dedicated to making this happen. Your support will help greatly- through a donation, purchase of a t-shirt, attendance at an event, or volunteering your time or resources. Please check out the DSP website: www.downingtownskatepark.com or the DSP Facebook page for updates and info on how you can help- or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.