I feel like I have a voice now…the next step for me is to have my voice heard.
—Lupita Balbuena Vazquez, March 30, 2018
This quote comes to us from Lupita Balbuena Vazquez, a 2018 Pinnacle Program scholarship recipient, upon returning home from her 7-day Northwest Outward Bound Rock Climbing course this past spring. Hers is an amazing story and we’d like to share it with you.
Lupita’s journey with Northwest Outward Bound initially began almost three years ago through our Portland School Program with the Walt Morey Middle School in the Reynolds School District here in Portland, Oregon. Post-program, Lupita talked about her experience as one that strengthened her connection and confidence in her friends and that,
there should be more of it because [Outward Bound programming] helps you trust other people, and you really learn about teamwork, in real life not just in school… [it is] not only us that are able to get stronger, it’ll help others get stronger too.
Now, fast forward to March of 2018. Nominated by one of her teachers, Barb Lim, Lupita was awarded a 2018 Pinnacle Program Scholarship to participate in our Rock Climbing Spring Break course in Central Oregon. This scholarship offers youths, historically excluded from outdoor education and leadership opportunities, to go on an Outward Bound course, free of tuition, empowering them to step outside their comfort zone —physically and mentally— and see what they are capable of achieving. Lupita’s course experience included seven days of climbing at Smith Rock with a group of 14-16 year olds, learning the technical skills of climbing while forming connections among peers and developing personal values. For many of these students, it was their first extended trip away from home and first time climbing outdoors. After completing her course, Lupita reflected on her experience as giving her the confidence to be herself and to be a leader for others, and has expressed an eagerness to get more involved with Northwest Outward Bound to help expand the reach of our programs to other young people in her community.
Stories like Lupita’s are what our Schools & Community Programs are all about.
Annually, Northwest Out Bound Schools & Community Programs, scholarships and financial aid programs impact the lives of about 800 students, and it is solely due to the compassion of our generous community of staff, instructors, sponsors and donors.
From all of us here at NWOBS, and on behalf of Lupita and so many other amazing students like her, thank you.
Photos by Colby Blue and Chelsea Hendrix.
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