The Eric Stricker Memorial Award, in memory of TWS editor Eric Stricker, sets out to honor individuals in the skateboarding industry that have shown a continued dedication to the positive growth, longevity, and love of skateboarding. This year's Eric Stricker Memorial Award deservedly goes to the incredible people at Skateistan who have spent the past eight years using skateboarding as a tool of empowerment for youths in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Mazar-e-Sharif. Founded by Oliver Percovich in 2007 and with their first facility opened in '09 in Kabul, the non-profit, non-governmental organization works with children from a range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds in some of the most war-torn and impoverished countries on the planet to build trust, offer educational opportunities, and bring hope to youths who's lives and living conditions might otherwise seem exceedingly difficult from our perspective of first world comforts.

Literally saving lives through skateboarding—Skateistan is a shining example of the actual real world benefits of the physical and social activity we all take for granted. The organization proves once and for all that while our pastime can be equally about "having fun", it can also be a bonified rallying point for giving back—providing the perfect vehicle to build a charity around for those with far less and facing indescribable hardship. Skateistan's formula is simple, once kids latch onto skateboarding, they also open up to everything else—education, community leadership roles and untold other roles and activities that might benefit them.

This is why we’re proud to present this year’s Eric Stricker Award to our friends at Skateistan.

SKATEISTAN

Tonight at the Theater at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. For more information on the 17th Annual TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards, click HERE and follow Instagram and Twitter feeds at @TransWorldSKATE (#TWSAWARDS).

Special thanks to our sponsors: Agenda, GoPro, Official, Zumiez, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.