Impact Giving | Maiza Lima's Story

In this piece from Mountaineer magazine, hear the story of Maiza Lima - a self proclaimed 'indoor person' before she discovered The Mountaineers.
Mary Hsue Mary Hsue
Former Mountaineers Director of Development
June 08, 2017

In her first class with The Mountaineers, Maiza Lima was impressed to learn that all classes were taught by volunteers, and all trips were led by volunteers. “It’s hard to believe people give so much time to be there for you.” She was so amazed she said to herself, “Next year, I will volunteer.”

Maiza discovered The Mountaineers four years ago, during a challenging time in her life. She and her mother had just left Brazil to escape domestic violence and create a better life for themselves. Maiza said, “A few years ago I read a Mountaineers’ magazine that belonged to a friend’s father who took the basic climbing class. As soon as I got home, I logged in and signed up for the sport climbing class. I didn’t even know what was sport climbing was!”

She remembers climbing the indoor wall for the first time, getting halfway up and asking to come down because she was scared. She said, “But after the first trip outside, I was hooked and signed up for the basic course.” Maiza smiles when she thinks about how much she didn’t know because three months later, she exclaimed, “I climbed Mt. Rainier and six more glaciated peaks that summer. And I was the first to graduate from my basic class!”

Growing up in the warm, humid jungles of Brazil, Maiza never thought the snow and glaciers of the mountains would be where she would want to be all the time. “I love camping up high on a mountain and seeing the most awe-inspiring sunsets and sunrises.”

“Climbing changed my life. I learned how to manage fear and to trust other people. I learned how to push myself further, and now I have the confidence to be a better climber.” If she’s not climbing on a Mountaineers trip, Maiza is climbing with the people she met in the basic climbing course. “The Mountaineers is my family now. It feels like home.”

Today, Maiza is a climb leader, volunteer, and committee member for The Mountaineers. Almost every weekend, you can find her leading a climb or hike or volunteering for youth programs.

“I like to meet and get to know new students, to help and encourage them to do better – like Mountaineers volunteers did for me.” She goes on to explain, “When you’re new, you don’t know what you don’t know until people show you. I want to show everyone how to be outside safely and with the proper skills. I want them to experience what I experienced in the outdoors. I want everyone to have hopes and dreams, and to have the confidence that they will achieve their dreams.”

Maiza was an “indoor girl” when she came to The Mountaineers. She calls herself “a very different person today, spending every free minute doing what I love – training, volunteering, planning, exploring and caring for my beautiful outdoor home with my new Mountaineers family,” she says.

In her short time with The Mountaineers, Maiza learned that for every volunteer, there’s a ripple effect that touches hundreds if not thousands of other people. Someone invested in the volunteer who led Maiza’s first trip. That volunteer invested in Maiza. And now Maiza’s efforts and enthusiasm are lighting a match under many more people, making it possible for THEM to experience the outdoors and to be awed by nature so that they will give back to their Mountaineers community and the wild places where they play.

At “AWE: Expected the Unexpected,” The Mountaineers annual fundraising event in March, Maiza shared her story and asked the audience to give generously to continue The Mountaineers tradition of changing lives and protecting our wild places. With their generous financial support, our donors have partnered with Maiza to create that ripple effect to affect hundreds more lives for generations to come. Thank you.


This article originally appeared in our Summer 2017 issue of Mountaineer  Magazine. To view the original article in magazine form and read more stories from our publication, click here.


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