It's not news that homelessness is a dilemma throughout the country, especially rampant in San Francisco, thanks to the high cost of living.
Youngsters aren't protected from that reality. According to Larkin Street Youth Services, there are 5,700 kids on the streets in San Francisco and 30 percent of those are LGBT. And since Gavin Newsom has yet to eliminate homelessness in San Francisco, Larkin Street Youth Services has come up with a creative solution to raise money for local homeless kids while teaching them some much-needed life skills.
Larkin Street has teamed up with Outward Bound California, a non-profit outdoor adventure school that teaches leadership and character building, to raise money for scholarships and to offset the costs of experiential learning for low-income youth. Outward Bound will be holding the first annual City Skyline Challenge later this week where 96 people will rappel 230 feet off of the roof of Hyatt Regency in the Financial District to raise $250,000.
The daring rappellers will descend 23 stories from one of the tallest buildings in San Francisco. The brave includes local residents, celebrities, and politicians such as former 49ers offensive lineman Guy McIntyre, Supervisor David Chiu, and Sen. Mark Leno.
Students at Larkin Street Youth Services, Abe Lincoln High School, and Vallejo Charter School -- all partners with Outward Bound -- will benefit from the cash raised. Winning students will get scholarships to Outward Bound where they'll backpack, set up camp, and exercise their navigation skills for starters.
Josh Brankman, executive director of Outward Bound California, says that each day during the outdoor adventure, the leaders will gradually relieve guidance, eventually allowing the students to lead the expedition. Brankman says that this approach gives the students "a heightened sense of responsibility."
The funds will also go toward other Outward Bound programs that Brankman says helps kids develop a deeper level of communication with one another. Programs instill team-building through icebreakers, rock climbing, and scavenger hunts across the Bay Area.
Outward Bound's programs for Larkin Street youth will start later this month and continue through September. Brankman says that Outward Bound will use "adventure and challenge" to inspire San Francisco's homeless youth to work as a group to overcome adversity. He adds that Outward Bounds can help equip homeless youth with an invaluable take-away: "skills for success that they can apply to getting a job."
The rappeling even will be on Thursday, March 27 from 1 to 4 pm and Friday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you're interested in scaling a wall, call Emma Rapp at (828) 239-2388 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a space.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Josh Brankman's name.