When he participated as a mentor for the SOS Outreach program for the first time last year, Crew Stover had few expectations. He finished the first day of skiing at Northstar with his group of fifth graders with a renewed sense of purpose and understanding of the real, impactful ways the program gives back to the kids and the community.
“It has been incredibly rewarding to be part of the SOS Outreach program. Not only is it awesome to see these kids learn how to ski or snowboard and become passionate about recreating in the mountains, it’s a privilege to help them grow as people,” said Stover who is also a program and outreach coordinator for the Tahoe Fund. “The SOS Outreach program curriculum both on and off the mountain helps kids build confidence and develop skills they’ll use throughout their lives.”
The Tahoe Fund announced its support of SOS Outreach with a $30,000 program grant to expand its impact in North and South Lake Tahoe. SOS Outreach is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for underserved youth to experience the outdoors while participating in a mentorship program that is designed to prepare them for life’s challenges. Every winter, kids who would not normally have the opportunity, enjoy five ride days at Northstar or Heavenly with their mentors. Off the slopes, they engage in social service projects that help improve their local community.
In North and South Lake Tahoe, more than 250 kids learn to ski and snowboard, learn leadership skills and the importance of protecting the environment through service projects each year. In the summer months they learn to fly fish, river raft and mountain bike.
The effectiveness of the SOS Outreach program is clear. Over the past 10 years, SOS programs have led to more kids graduating from high school, attending college, finding careers and giving back to their communities. In fact, 96% of SOS youth plan to attend college, and 61% return to mentor peers.
“Our programs are designed to help underserved youth in our community discover joy through outdoor recreation they might not otherwise have access to, feel included, overcome challenges, improve their mental health, and become strong leaders,” said Theresa Papandrea, senior regional director, SOS Outreach. “We’re thrilled the Tahoe Fund supports our goals and has agreed to help us deliver this important programming to local kids.”
“The goals of the SOS Outreach program align perfectly with the Tahoe Fund’s commitment to sustainable recreation and environmental stewardship,” said Katy Simon Holland, Tahoe Fund board member. “On behalf of our donors, not only are we pleased to contribute to such a valuable program, we appreciate the opportunity for our staff to participate as mentors to the local youth who are part of this incredible program.”
Learn more about the Tahoe Fund and the programs it supports at www.tahoefund.org.
Source: Tahoe Fund