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By giving to Outdoor Outreach, you connect youth to a world of possibility. Your gift increases their self-confidence, resiliency, and leadership abilities to overcome the obstacles in their lives and excel.
We’d like to introduce you to one of our Leadership participants. Since Vincent first came to Outdoor Outreach six years ago we have seen him grow personally, academically, and professionally. Today he is a high school graduate, a paid assistant recreation instructor, and a role model for other youth.
Unfortunately, the future didn’t always look so bright for Vincent.
When Vincent came to San Diego in 2006 he and his siblings faced an obstacle no young family should – homelessness. At the time, his mom, a disabled veteran, was unable to find steady work. Vincent and his two younger siblings bounced around a lot, staying at different homeless shelters, transitional housing units, and friends’ spare rooms. Though he and his family always tried to stay positive, Vincent struggled to feel connected to anything and was unsure where his future would take him.
As Vincent tells the story, everything changed when he was introduced to Outdoor Outreach:
“One of my first trips was a full day of snowboarding in Snow Valley. I never thought I’d have the chance to snowboard. I remember I was a little nervous, but
really grateful that Outdoor Outreach was giving me the opportunity to try something new. By the end of the day I was able to board down without falling. I was really proud the whole ride home. I accomplished something that I had no idea I was capable of.
That day really lit a fire in me.”
Vincent spent the next four years with OO’s Adventure Club, taking part in every trip he could. Surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking – he felt like he could do anything he put his mind to.
“I feel blessed to be in the position that I’m in today. A high school graduate, employed at a job I love, about to start college and pursue a career I’m passionate about. I’m a role model now – someone that others aspire to be like. There’s no other feeling like it. I have Outdoor Outreach to thank for all of this.
The staff, the leadership guys, the volunteers – their support was a game changer. They saw my strengths. These people that I looked up to all saw potential in me that I didn’t know I had.
I see the same things in the kids at Lincoln High School’s Adventure Club. I know there are many other kids in San Diego who deserve the same opportunities. I’m grateful to be able to give back and help inspire the next generation of outdoor leaders.”
Your generosity helps Outdoor Outreach give Vincent, and thousands of other youth like him, opportunities that they never thought were possible. The majority of youth served by our programs grow up in inner-city communities and face more than their fair share of challenges: financial struggles, substance abuse, youth violence, and some of the lowest rates of high school graduation in the county.
Your support is helping to break down these barriers to success. Youth in our communities have so much potential – and thanks to you, we’re able to help them realize it.
Our goal for 2014 is to serve more youth than ever before through our comprehensive outdoor programs. We rely on individual supporters like you to advance our work, which is why we hope you will accept our invitation to inspire San Diego County’s underserved youth.
This June, The North Face has generously offered to match every donation made to Outdoor Outreach – up to $15,000. This means that your gift will have twice the life-changing impact. By giving today, you’re equipping youth like Vincent with the confidence and skills they need to thrive.
Recently, Vincent traveled to the State Capitol to share with decision makers his ideas on how to make the outdoors more accessible to urban youth like himself. As he spoke to legislators and park advocates, he spoke from the heart. His message about the transformational powers of the outdoors was compelling. You would have been incredibly proud.
Vincent’s full-circle of achievement at Outdoor Outreach would not have been possible without the support of donors like yourself. Your investment in Outdoor Outreach is an investment in our youths’ futures, and for that, we can’t thank you enough.
The North Face match is happening through June 30th only. So please, right now, click here to make your gift online.
On behalf of our staff, Board of Directors, and the incredible youth we serve – thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you.