Everett Branch Youth Programs Kick Off With Smiles

This Friday, our Everett Branch delivered their first ever Mountain Workshop in partnership with the YMCA, New Life Church and Casino Road Kids.
Becca Polglase Becca Polglase
December 13, 2014

Over the past four years, Mountaineers youth programs have grown at an extraordinary rate, all thanks to the commitment and investment of our volunteers and donors. This Friday, I had a chance to get out of the office and spend the afternoon with a remarkable group of young people and some incredible volunteers at our Everett Branch's first youth program.

Over the summer and fall, our Youth Education Manager, Caitlin O'Brien has been working with volunteers from our Everett Branch who came to us looking for staff support to get youth programs off the ground in Everett. Caitlin, Lorna Corrigan (Member, Board of Directors and Everett Branch member) and others met with community youth workers to find opportunities to partner. This Friday, we were proud to kick off what promises to be an exciting partnership between the Everett Mountaineers, Casino Road YMCA Youth Development Center and the New Life Church, which hosts an incredible climbing wall.

The Casino Road Youth Development Center hosts a Casino Road Scholars program that provides academic support to 4th and 5th grade youth and a Minority Achievers Program for middle and high school youth in Everett. Most of the youth in these programs come from families with very little means, and seldom have the opportunity to leave their neighborhoods. Alex Costumbrado, the Program Director, and his staff provide incredible mentorship for the youth in this program.

During the planning stages for Everett youth programs, one connection led to another, and the team discovered an incredible climbing wall at the New Life Church in Everett, not far from Casino Road Youth Development Center. The folks at New Life enthusiastically partnered with us, offering very low cost use of the climbing wall.

With all things falling into place, Caitlin, myself and three Everett Branch volunteers - Matt Vadnal (Branch Chair), Dan Anderson and his son Jacob Anderson - met Alex and 18 enthusiastic teenagers at the New Life Church climbing wall this Friday, December 12.  While a few of the kids had climbed before, most had not, and almost all of them were nervous.

Casino Road Minority Achievers

Hanan, pictured above with teen volunteer Jacob Anderson, climbed for the first time,became nervous just a few feet up and asked to come down. Determined to get to the top, she asked her friend Lynn to race her because "I'm very competitive, and that motivates me." Both girls made it to the top and came down laughing.

Casino Road Minority Achievers

Leazie, smiling here with Caitlin after completing a difficult climb involving lots of stemming, was celebrating her 16th birthday.  She climbed for the first, second, third and fourth time in her life that day and was beaming from her accomplishment.

After a few hours, the program came to a close.  The kids shared their highlights and all of them high-fived Mountaineers volunteers and staff as they left. We're looking forward to future opportunities with this wonderful group of youth.

Many thanks to Lorna Corrigan, Matt Vadnal, Dan & Jacob Anderson, and all of the Everett volunteers who are so committed to getting youth outside.

I want to Volunteer!


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