Published: Monday, 03 November 2014 14:24
We've got exciting news for our members involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters!
Touchstone Climbing and Big Brothers Big Sisters Bay Area are happy to announce a partnership that will make it easier for volunteers to bring kids climbing. Active Littles are now FREE on their Big Brother or Sisters Touchstone Climbing membership. This means that if you are a Big Brother or Sister, you can bring your little climbing as often as you'd like, and still have your guest passes left over for friends or family.
Until recently, Big Brothers and Big sisters could use one of their two free monthly guest passes to bring their Littles climbing. "But we wanted to do more!" said Membership Services Director Monica Arranda who helped to launch the program. >
If you are part of BBBS, bring your Little to the gym along with your active membership cards, and we'll sign them up as a free member on your account. The next time the two of you come climbing, check-in will be fast and simple.
Rob, a Touchstone Climbing member, is also a mentor with BBBS. To share one of his own passions with his 'little,' Patrick, he started taking him climbing. "He has loved climbing, and started asking me every week if we can go."
"I'm so excited for this opportunity to bring him more often!" said Rob. "And so is Patrick."
On Sunday, October 12th, Dogpatch Boulders hosted a Meet Up to kick off the new program. 9 Big Brothers and 9 Little Brothers came to the gym and had a great time.
"Bringing kids to the climbing gym is such a phenomenal bonding experience," said Dogpatch Boulders manager Justin Alarcon. "People tend to break out of their shells when they are moving, challenging themselves, and toping out boulders together!"
Founded in California in 1958, BBBS Bay Area serves Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. Since 1958 they have carefully matched over 11,000 children with a mentor and provided ongoing support and guidance to ensure optimum outcomes. They currently serve about 1,000 children each year and have set a goal bumping that number up to 2,000 children yearly by 2018. Children between the ages of 6 and 16 and they are eligible to stay in the program until graduation at 18.
"Male mentors are currently needed in Fresno, the East Bay, South Bay and the Peninsula,' said Match Support Specialist Hannah Rudsten. There is a pressing need for healthy male role models to be matched with enrolled boys in these areas. According to their website, 700 at-risk children are currently on the waiting list, and 82% are boys.
If there's one thing that a climbing gym has plenty of, it's eligible bros! If you're interesting in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, find out more about volunteering!
The benefits of mentorship are undeniable. Surveys of mentors and parents/guardians whose Little had been matched 12 months or more reported the following results:
- 100% improved GPA’s if they were struggling in school
- 96% improved their ability to avoid using physical violence
- 92% improved self-confidence
- 85% improved peer relationships
- 81% improved attitudes towards school
- 74% improved their outlook for the future
- 72% increased their trust in adults to help with problems
We're happy to find more ways to involve underserved youth in our neighborhoods in climbing and a healthy lifestyle. Big thanks to BBBS for working with us to give volunteers an easy way to bring their kids to the gym to share the joys of climbing!
Published: Monday, 03 November 2014 13:59
City of Dreams is a San Francisco non-profit dedicated to helping youth living in low-income housing build brighter futures through mentorship and youth development. The organization works to 'challenge young people to reach their highest potential through Experiential Learning. The events call for youth to solve problems, overcome fears, work as a team, try new things, explore creativity, embrace support, and identify their options,' ...which sounds a lot like climbing! On Saturday, October 11th, Berkeley Ironworks hosted a group of children and their mentors. Here is what they had to say about their experience rock climbing at BIW!
"City of Dreams' visit to Berkeley Ironworks was one of our best experiential learning events of the year! Almost every Saturday of the year, we take our youth aged 9-17 on experiential learning events with our mentors. Each event is focused upon one of twelve life values and our lesson for our visit to Berkeley Ironworks was "trust." It was a very powerful experience for our youth to push against their fears and limits to their self-confidence on the walls while also learning to trust their belayers.
Our mentors were able to belay the children thanks to the patient, passionate, and culturally competent staff at Berkeley Ironworks. This experience supports the argument that rock climbing can have a meaningful impact on our youths' ability to develop self-confidence and trust in others. We will definitely do this trip again next year with Berkeley Ironworks.
Building trust with our belayers and with ourselves is something we all deal with while climbing. We're so glad to be able to host City of Dreams so they could push their limits and find success on the rock wall! Thanks to the staff and mentors for creating such a positive environment!