When friends of Dario Bartoli began brainstorming ways to honour their friend in a way that would capture who he was, hosting a skate jam was the obvious choice.
The popular South Surrey youth, who was killed last December in a violent attack near Bakerview Park, spent many of his waking hours at the local skate park, teaching younger skaters how to do kick flips and socializing with his large circle of friends.
“Dario always thought it would be cool to have some kind of skate jam here at the park,” Ian Ireland, a friend of Dario’s for many years, told Peace Arch News.
With the help of Surrey Youth outreach co-ordinators, Ireland and several other teens have planned an inaugural Dario Jam, set for Sept. 12, 1-5 p.m., at the South Surrey Skate Park.
Once they decided upon the type of event, the teens wasted no time getting out into the community to drum up sponsorship, raffle prizes and excitement.
According to Ireland, support for the event has been overwhelming.
“Every single place that we’ve gone has given us something, and that’s driven us to keep going,” he said.
The event will provide a chance for riders to compete for prizes in all levels of experience, and will also feature BMX riders showcasing their skills in the bowl.
Sponsored riders who have confirmed they will take part include Andy Anderson from Protest Skateboards, and Andrew Classon from Coastal Riders. Authentic Board Supply has also signed on as a sponsor of the event.
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner is expected to be on-hand to raffle off prizes, including a limited-edition ‘Dario 2015’ skateboard.
Singer-songwriter Ben Dunnill is set to perform Passing Trains, a song he wrote for his childhood friend.
The event takes place exactly one month after Dario would have turned 16. On Aug. 12, friends and family members gathered at the park in honour of Dario’s birthday to release helium balloons with messages for the murdered teen.
Dario was walking with a friend in the early hours of Dec. 13 when an altercation left him with critical injuries. He was transported to Peace Arch Hospital where he succumbed later that morning. IHIT investigators have released little information on the investigation, and no arrests have been made.
Proceeds from Dario Jam – which is hoped to become an annual event – will go towards Sources Community Resources youth programs.
While the event is about raising money, it’s also about reaching out to teens in the community, according to Dario’s mom, June Iida.
“It’s all about youth engagement and awareness,” Iida said. “We have to start really paying attention to them and their voices. We can learn a lot from them.”
Uniting as a “brotherhood of skateboarding” is one of the most important aspects for Ireland, who said Dario was known for bringing different groups of teens together.
“When people come together to do something good, it builds a strong bond,” Ireland said, noting teens are following in Dario’s footsteps by encouraging younger kids to embrace skateboarding and take care of the skate park. “I think he would be grateful that we’re speaking for him, and I’m grateful