Yakima's Skate Park Saves a Life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima's Skate Park Saves a Life

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YAKIMA, Wash - What's working in Yakima to keep kids and young adults away from drugs and crime?  KNDO spent the day at one of Yakima's parks and found a sport that is popular there.  

"This has saved my life pretty much staying out of trouble," says 20-year-old Justin Allen.

For the last few months Allen has started to spend his afternoons at the skate park in Yakima's Chesterly Park, a safe haven against a past lifestyle.

"Justin, he is a good kid, he is older than I ‘am, but he got mixed up ...we all have," says Trenton Johnson, one of Allen's friends.

"He has always been a caring person, but throughout the drugs and stuff it kind of got him off-track a little bit," explains Jodie Renecker, Allen's girlfriend.

Justin's friends say he started to use methamphetamines and marijuana a couple of years ago.  He went to jail at least six times for drug and car prowling charges.  He now has come back to something he loved doing.     

"I started at 16 and I skate boarded up till 17 and I got into doing drugs.   I went and did treatment, got out, made my life better and the next thing I turned to was skate boarding because I needed something to do," says Allen.

Fellow skate boarders have noticed a change.

"I saw him again today and he looks a little more cleaned up and he is skating and stuff," explains Rowdy Peterson, another one of Allen's friends. 

Allen has another reason to stay out of trouble.  He and his girlfriend are taking care of their three-month-old baby boy.    

"With being sober it is kind of hard to find things to do, you don't hang out with a lot of people you used to, so coming out here [the skate park] helps him keep his mind off of things," says Renecker.

Allen right now is going to YVCC getting his GED.  Everyday after classes he heads down to Chesterly Park and skates.