July, 20 2018

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Climbing Higher to Help Troubled Teens in Indiana

Monique Dagher admits to being afraid of heights. But that alone won't stop the 29-year-old South Holland woman from climbing Mount Hood in Oregon this summer to help troubled teens.

The hurdle Dagher has to overcome is fundraising.

To participate in the Summit for Someone climb June 21, she has to raise at least $3,400 for Big City Mountaineers, a nonprofit that sends troubled youth on trips into the wilderness with mentors.

The Mount Hood climb is 1,239 feet up a dormant volcano, and Dagher will load a 50- to 60-pound pack of gear onto her 110-pound frame, she said. Along the way, climbers could encounter rain, sleet and snow.

"You do a lot of talking to yourself," Dagher said in regards to climbing, which she said is demanding physically and mentally, but addictive. "Imagine walking up an escalator for a couple hours straight."

To prepare, Dagher plans a mix of cardiovascular, strength training and hikes as long as 12 hours during peak training. But it's worth it to support a charity that she strongly believes in.

"They learn more than the fundamentals of camping, campfire safety and pitching a tent," said Dagher, who has climbed mountains before. "They are inner-city and urban youth who know nothing but high-rise complexes filled with drugs and alcohol. They learn there's a lot more out there in life, learn to believe in themselves and overcome obstacles."

Last year, 300 children participated in the Big City Mountaineers program, including 40 from Chicago, said Greta Oberschmidt, a logistics manager for the nonprofit. Five kids and five adults spent eight days in the wilderness, she said.

In other areas, the children spend time in mountain backcountry, but flying Midwestern troubled teens to mountains caused problems with the altitude sickness, so they are sent to the Boundary Waters instead, she said. Boundary Waters is a wilderness region straddling Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.

"It's just a vehicle to mentor and talk to and spend time, one-on-one time with kids (who) do not normally get that," Oberschmidt said, adding that the idea is to build character, confidence, strength and personal relationships

"They'd never would have an opportunity to do this if it wasn't for the funding," she said. "We get lots of phone calls later on in life that they were thankful they did it."

For more information about Big City Mountaineers or Monique Dagher visit summitforsomeone.org.

Related Articles:
Funding Shortages Close California Shelters for Runaway Teens 1/24/08
Illinois Program for Troubled Youth Loses Funding 1/23/08
Canadian Wilderness Therapy Program Helps Troubled Teens
California Holds Classes for Parents of Troubled Youth 1/22/08
Wisconsin Committee Plans to Help Troubled Teens 10/22/08
Florida Lawmakers Find Mentors for Struggling Teens 1/18/08
Arizona Home for Troubled Teens Investigated 1/16/08
Pennsylvania Home offers Help for Troubled Teens 1/17/08
School for Troubled Teens Denied in Maryland 1/15/08
Montana Opens 1st of 7 Residential Treatment Centers for Meth Addiction 1/16/08

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