#1 of “23 Stories of Change” for our City Skyline Challenge!
Luis grew up in Watts, a rough neighborhood of Los Angeles. When a guidance counselor at his school told him about the opportunity to go on an Outward Bound course through the Pinnacle Scholarship Program, he jumped at the chance.
His Outward Bound expedition—a 22-day mountaineering expedition in the High Sierra—gave him the chance to see the world outside the city, a world that up until that point had only existed in his imagination or on television.
“It was amazing: sleeping under the stars, seeing numerous meteors, forests, waterfalls, meadows, snow, wild trout, meeting people from different parts of the country and not to mention the view from over 13,000 feet, which felt like the top of the world!”
Luis loved having the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of young people from all over the country. Luis remembers that despite their differences “we found a way to work together and get things done.” He also remembers having to face his fear of heights on a very steep traverse across a patch of snow, which literally brought him to his knees. (He crawled across!)
He says he embraces the process of facing his fears, because “when we have fear, it encloses us. It’s very limiting. The only way to know what we are capable of is through experience.”
Today, Luis works as a lab technician and hikes the foothills of Los Angeles in his spare time. To this day, he remains grateful to the donors who made his expedition possible in 1996.
You can make an expedition possible for a low-income student by participating in or donating to the City Skyline Challenge! As Luis shared, your gift can make an impact that resonates in a young person’s life for years and decades to come.