Escalando Fronteras is a collective of climbers and academics helping disadvantaged youth in the marginalized neighborhoods of Monterrey, Mexico, find empowerment through rock climbing.

Essentially, it gets them away from the toxic routine of living with no options in their neighborhoods, where aside from having little or no parents, drug and gang abuse is the norm. Merciless fights are all too common.

Some literally don’t have parents, others are raging alcoholics, and some have parents who are simply working two jobs and can’t look after them. These kids are on the low end of the socioeconomic strata of Mexican society.

Nothing is expected from them and hardly any guidance is given. They spend their days drinking, huffing paint, and gambling in the streets, and these kids range from 10-20. Personally, seeing a 12 year old huff paint and go comatose is simply painful.

However, we’ve seen positive change in a year. There are kids who no longer use or sell drugs, and others are committed to learning, both climbing and a good education. One kid named Misa loves to practice his English with me on Facebook chat. Another is stoked on becoming a mountain guide and trains for competitions.

When they come out to the local valley where we climb, they are constantly stoked to be there. We’ll pack 15 kids and 4 dogs in a van and head out to the crags, no problem.

It’s hard work. There are few volunteers. Sometimes it is just 2 of us and 14 of them. They also relapse into drug abuse. That is also hard on us.

Ultimately it is worth it. Progress is being made. Other kids in the neighborhoods see how good some kids have become. They want to follow. In truth, the nonprofit is in its infancy and still has much to develop, but it is the hope with a decent story and the spread of the organization, we can take it to better heights.

To learn more about Escalando Fronteras and how you can become involved, check them out on facebook.

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