Sarah Thompson, of Ensign Intermediate, warms up in the mini-pipe before the OC Skateboarding League semifinals Wednesday, June 30, 2011 at the Vans Skate Park, The Block at Orange. (Kevin Chang, Daily Pilot / July 18, 2011)

The OC Skateboarding League hopes to raise $10,000 at an awards dinner Thursday evening to continue and expand its programs.

Newport-Mesa Unified school board Trustee Katrina Foley founded the nonprofit last year to support local middle- and high-school skating teams.

More than 150 students skate for 20 teams across the county. Costa Mesa, Estancia and Newport Harbor high schools are among the participants.

The awards dinner at the Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club in Fountain Valley will feature a silent auction, skate videos and guest appearances by as-yet-unnamed industry pros. Foley said the league needs money for operational costs like coaches, insurance, buses and snack bars.

Karena Gibbs coaches Irvine's Northwood High School team. She said the team has given some of her students the motivation to improve their grades and stay in school.

"They've learned everything from communication to integrity to teamwork, to showing up to practice even when you're sick," said Gibbs, who is also the school psychologist. "We really take care of these kids and really try to show them the big picture."

A Newport Beach lawyer, Foley said the league provides kids with fun and sport, but also teaches them important life lessons.

"It's not even always about the best skating, but the willingness to go for it, push your limits and be disciplined enough to work through the skate trick more than 100 times and fall before the one time you land it," she said in an email.

The league pits school teams against each other in competitions, giving the skaters a chance to show off their tricks at places like the Vans Skatepark in Orange. Costa Mesa won the high school team title at the finals last month, but the overall season results for individual and team champions will be announced at the dinner.

Foley, also former Costa Mesa councilwoman, said the league gives students a chance to participate in a nontraditional sport that brings kids together from all walks of life.

"The skaters don't pay attention to income or social class standing," she said. "The skating is what matters."

Paige La Bare, 13, is one of two girls in the league. She said skating on the Costa Mesa Middle School team has allowed her to make new friends and improve her skills.

"I like skating because it's fun, and I like to learn things and accomplish stuff," she said. "There's not very many girl skaters, and I like how I can be a girl and put girl skaters in a good place. [People] are like, 'Oh, girls can't skate' — but they actually can."

If You Go

What: OC Skateboarding League fundraiser

Where: Los Caballeros Racquet & Sports Club, 17272 Newhope St., Fountain Valley

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $25 per person for dinner, with larger donations accepted

More information: ocskateboardingleague@gmail.com, (949) 502-8800 ext. 205, or http://www.ocskateboardingleague.org