Hands up if you wish you could take a hike during school hours.

Our hands are raised, and so are the youth’s enrolled in Take a Hike Foundation, a full-time, alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement in the lower mainland.

This organization is on our radar for a couple reasons.  First, their belief that the outdoors helps to create mental and physical well-being aligns with our own belief-system. Second, their commitment to empower at-risk youth with the tools to forge their own path and achieve success in their academic and personal lives is both admirable and clearly fueled by the team’s passion.

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“For many students, sitting in a classroom is not inspiring and doesn’t resonate with most of them,” explains Sevan Kadian, Take a Hike Foundation’s Program Support Coordinator. “Getting the kids active and breathing the fresh air helps them focus.”

Take a Hike recognizes that each student is an individual, therefore unique learning pathways are carved out for each student. The weekly day-trips and multi-day expeditions help the students apply themselves and face unique challenges. Activities such as hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing and snowshoeing help youth build confidence.

“Each classroom has 20 students, a teacher, therapist, adventure-based learning specialist, youth and family worker and several volunteers,” says Kadian. “The school runs from grades 10 to 12 and currently operates in three communities in the lower mainland.”

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Since many students don’t excel with the mainstream school system, those in the Take a Hike program often struggle with issues that have inhibited their success.  Many students have experienced drug and alcohol addiction, physical and mental abuse, criminal activity, low self-esteem, depression, and/or trauma.  With the alternative curriculum set in place, the organization aims to minimize barriers to learning, address personal issues and help students achieve a greater level of social and academic success.

We’re honoured to get involved with this organization doing incredible work in our local community, and we feel that it’s our responsibility to support positive initiatives in any way that we can.  Their belief in helping youth by using adventure and the outdoors as a teacher is creating a massive impact on the programs’ participants, and is demonstrated by the 80% graduation rate and notable improvement in the youth’s personal lives.

For the months of November and December, we’re donating 5% of proceeds to Take a Hike Foundation to help fund their program and help local youth.  For more information and for how to get involved, visit their website and toss them a follow on Instagram.