SOS Outreach celebrated its largest week ever by hosting 1,718 kids in skiing and snowboarding programs across nine states and 15 program locations. Halfway through their 24th season, SOS Outreach is on pace to serve 4,684 youth this winter through outdoor adventure, community improvement initiatives and leadership development. Of these 4,600+ served, 3,293 youth will participate in 13,964 program days on Vail Resorts Mountains in six different states.
SOS Outreach doesn’t just help kids gear up for skiing and snowboarding – the nonprofit helps kids gear up for life. In partnership with Vail Resorts, SOS has served over 5,000 youth since its inception in 2003. While many go on to live bright and healthy futures, one in particular has come full circle and returned to SOS Outreach as a program manager for inner city Chicago youth at Wilmot Mountain. Travis Tafoya joined SOS Outreach in 2005 as a participant in the organization’s introductory Learn to Ride program. Becoming infatuated with snowboarding, he progressed on through the SOS University and Masters Programs, gaining new friends, mentors, outdoor skills and leadership abilities along the way.
Now embarking on his first post collegiate job in Chicago, Travis has returned to the organization that gave him so much. With Vail Resorts’ expansion to Wilmot Mountain last year, Travis has taken the wheel as SOS expands its programming for some of the most underserved youth in our country living in inner-city Chicago. This winter, 25 youth from the region have been exposed to the world of skiing and snowboarding for the very first time, mimicking the experience that Travis had 12 years ago as a student with SOS.
Let’s also give a round of applause to the people who make these program days happen. Recently, the Park City team received an email from a local parent.
“This program is amazing! I would've never been able to provide that experience for my son without a program like this. Thank you so much for all that you have done to help children in distressed situations. Programs like this have gotten me and my kids through a lot. Thank you again and to all those who donate to help us.”
A hearty thank you to everyone changing kids’ lives through SOS Outreach. The impact is immediate and carries on throughout the lives of our youth participants, as shown in Travis’ story. Would you like to learn more about SOS Outreach? Check out their website here more stories and information.