Good People Still Exist in the World Vol. 28: Dear PoP – What Type of Skates?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rukasu1

“Dear PoP,

My wife and I have “adopted” an underprivileged local boy for the holidays through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. We would very much like to make his wishes come true, but we’re stumped on what to get him. He only asked for 3 things, two of which are small and easy to get. However, for his third item, he listed just “skates.”

We’ve both been scanning the sidewalks for kids on skates of any kind, and we haven’t seen any. We don’t know if he wants rollerskates, rollerblades, or something else entirely. Of those, we have no idea what’s cool and what’s not. All we know about him is that he’s 12 years old and from somewhere in DC. There’s no mechanism in the program to ask for clarification from him.

If your readers have any insight, we’d love to hear it. We want to help grant a holiday wish, not come close only to really disappoint him.”

Anyone have kids, cousins, friends around this age? What type of skates do they say are popular.

24 Comment

  • What about a gift card to Sports Authority or some such? Or is it gauche to assume he has access to one? Do they do mail order?

    Alternatively, whatever you choose to settle on, maybe just get a gift receipt?

    What a great thing to do. Thank you.

    • +1 on some sort of gift certificate. Maybe with online ordering? And a note explaining how he can order them, perhaps with the help of the librarian online? Except delivery might be a problem…

      I’d maybe look for somewhere in the District that sells sports stuff… and buy one with a gift receipt. And include perhaps a metro card in case he wants to exchange them?

      Tough one!

  • depends how old they are… if they’re over 11 then i’d have to guess the kid wants aggressive inline skates

  • What about skate shoes?

  • skateboard!

  • Maybe he wants ice skates. Or the fish that’s related to rays and sharks.


    i think any kid would love these… you gotta guess his size i guess… heck, i kind of want a pair of these

  • That’s tricky. I think the tougher part of buying inline skates would be the size. And if he’s 12 he would probably outgrow them in less than a year. I think they make adjustable size inline skates? That’s what I would go with and I’m sure he will be thrilled with whatever you give him.

  • PoP — could you maybe give some info about how to get involved in this program? i bet lots of readers would be interested.

  • If I were in your shoes, I’d go to a sporting goods store and ask the salespeople. They will know what the 12-year-old city kids are coming in to drool over.

    Also, the web site given says the program starts November 2nd. How did you get involved early?

    Any non-religious charities doing a program like this? I’d like to sign up.

    • I get the knocks on Salvation Army, but I think – I’m not 100% sure – that they’re sort of just passing through to the kids, so what difference does it make if the pass through is the Salvation Army, or a church, or Central Union or anyone else as long as the gifts are getting into the hands of the kids? (If I’m wrong, and Salvation Army is somehow getting cash for this or something, then, okay, I get why someone might not be into that.)

      • I’m not knocking the Salvation Army, or religion. I work in a secular non-profit organization, and it always looks like our religiously-affiliated counterparts are swimming in money. They don’t have to fundraise as hard. So I direct my charitable giving to organizations that don’t have an automatic “in” with large donor groups.

        • That makes sense. I wasn’t accusing you of that, but since this isn’t a cash donation, it seems like it matters less.

          (You’re totally right about how easy it is for religious nonprofits though. Maybe not all of them, but I used to development work at Catholic Relief Services, and used to call it sells express tickets to Heaven. Can’t speak for all of them, especially the smaller ones, but for the biggies yeah – it’s pretty easy.)

  • FYI – I laughed out loud when i saw old school roller skates on the shelves of Modell’s at the intersection of H, Benning, and Florida.

    Oh the memories. I’m hearing Thriller in my head right now, and Nucleus. Jam on it, jam on it….

  • I am an active skater for 30 years. Inline skates only. 4 wheel skates don’t have mobility or speed. Decent for indoors, bad for outdoors.

  • hey, what 12 yr old boy wouldn’t be happy w/ a skateboard? You don’t have to guess size or worry about him outgrowing it. Seems like a practical alternative given the lack of other information…

  • I’m the original question-asker. Sorry to be late to the party, but I’m only now getting a chance to read through. Thanks for all of the input so far.

    First, we were able to participate early because my office has participated as a group for years (but this is my first here), and they distribute names early to organizations.

    Second, gift cards don’t work – I need to get the actual items I’d like to give him. I have his shoe size, and just a request for “skates.” I assume this means rollerblades or rollerskates, rather than a skateboard or ice skates. Also, the only roller rinks in the area are outside of the District, so I’m assuming he’s not going to one of those (but, I could be wrong). His other “wishes” were easy, so I’d like to knock this one out and get him what he wants.

    But, that’s all I know. Thanks for all of the input – it’s really helpful. Maybe I’ll go to one of the Sports Authority locations and ask them; that’s a great suggestion.

    If you have any more input, we’d love to hear it. It just seems cruel to get him the gift that’s so close but not what he wanted. That must almost be more disappointing than no skates at all.

  • Oh, and I can’t speak highly enough of the Salvation Army program. I’ve participated before, just not through this office. They do a great job of matching people to individual kids in need.

    I can’t speak to the others, but the Salvation Army really does just coordinate the individual-to-kid exchanges, where everything you give goes to your “adopted” child.

  • I’m positive he is asking for “skate shoes”. I work in a DC middle school and all the kids have them, They are awesome, I’m even tempted to get a pair if they sell them in adult sizes.

    an example:

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