All this month students from Detroit’s Cesar Chavez Martin Academy have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ski and snowboard at Mt. Brighton.
The program is free for the kids involved, part of a program called SOS Outreach. The goal is to mentor at-risk youths, each ski or snowboard lesson comes with food, snacks, and a classroom-like session where instructors talk about morals, core values and more.
Of course, the real fun comes out on the slopes.
Wendy Martinez, 9, was hesitant when she first approached the top of the bunny hill. She reached for Michelle Talasis’ hand, the SOS Outreach teacher, who had traveled to the top of the hill and asked if she could go with her.
It took some prodding, but within an hour Martinez was making runs down the hill by herself.
“I like the turns,” said Martinez, grinning from ear to ear a big change from the hesitant girl who didn’t want to go down the hill a bit earlier.
“They’ve been learning skills like self esteem, courage and responsibility,” said Thomas Goodley, the student’s principle. “So, it’s a whole blended educational setting to help our kids too. The kids are having a great time.”
The opportunity is a bit of a new venture for SOS Outreach. The Mt. Brighton version of the program is different than the versions of the program running across 30 mountain resorts in seven states. Instead of a week of events, like SOS Outreach runs in other areas, Mt. Brighton has brought students to the slopes once a week for the entire month of February.
SOS Outreach executive director Seth Ehrlich adds, “When you’re a part of SOS Outreach, you are a part of something much larger than yourself.”
“In the past month, the strength of the SOS Outreach family has been reinforced through meetings with the team of adults, mountain contacts, schools and youth agencies who give so much of themselves to the success of our participants.”
Monday marks the final day for Cesar Chavez Martin Academy students to travel to Mt. Brighton.
Goodley told 7 Action News it’s been an amazing opportunity.
“The kids have loved it, and the reality is this may be the only time they ever get a chance to do it,” said Goodley. “Then again, who knows? Maybe one day you’ll see them in the Olympics!”