Myesha McCaskill

Sure, Myesha McCaskill is an amazing roller skater (her nickname isn’t SmoothGoddess for nothing) and an expert instructor, whether teaching freestyle or JB, the Chicago variety named for the James Brown music that accompanies its dips, slides, and fancy footwork. But those labels sell short both her and the classes she offers through her business, Inspired by Favor. Originally, McCaskill, 40, taught in rinks on the South Side, but she resisted limiting herself to the city’s traditional skating set. “I wanted to bridge the gap and make it more diverse,” she says. Two years ago, she added Saturday classes at the Rooted Space in North Center and, not long after, monthly ones at Chicago Athletic Association. McCaskill’s motivational messages of falling safely and getting back up extend beyond eight wheels. “I see my classes as more of a ministry. Roller skating is the catch to get people here, but everything else is about the power of love and lifting people up.”