The youth of Monterrey.

In the winter of 2017, HighPoint Expeditions had the opportunity to spend a day following the work of Escalando Fronteras. Literally translated ‘Climbing Borders’, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) works with at-risk youth in the most marginalized areas of Monterrey, Mexico.

Escalando Fronteras’s mission is “To use rock-climbing and education to empower and build the skills of at-risk youth in underdeveloped areas around the world in order to give them the tools to pursue promising and positive lives.”

We followed team member, Tiffany Hensley on her run to Lomas Modelo Norte, one of the many communities the NGO serves.

We are spearheading a youth development project in the most marginalized areas of Monterrey, Mexico that uses rock climbing to empower and build the skills of at-risk youth in order to get them away from gangs and organized crime/drug cartels.

- Escalando Fronteras

Earning respect.

Watching Tiffany interact with the youth of Lomas Modelo Norte, we saw the amazing relationships her continued efforts of service have fostered. Hospitality towards non-spanish speaking gringos like ourselves doesn’t abound in the areas served by the organization. It was a pleasure watching the families & youth that she works with be delighted to see her. Tiffany has clearly earned the respect of the community through the difference she is making with Escalando Fronteras.

She’s got skin in the game.

Daylight zombies.

Tiffany told us about the “zombies” that sit on the steps in the daylight, and sometimes scavenge Lomas Modelo Norte by night. These members of the community have lost their minds and livelihoods to huffing paint thinner, a construction chemical sold by a kid with a backpack on the corner.

While in Lomas Modelo Norte, a young man (who seemed to have just passed the point of no return on these drugs) showing poor coordination walked up to Tiffany and started talking. It was hard for us to understand what he was saying; Tiffany broke into English to say that he was currently on something and wasn’t speaking coherently.

It’s weird, but the moment really did remind us of scenes in zombie movies where you’re forced to watch someone turn slowly, with nothing to do but wait and see if they’re strong enough to fight through it. We are hoping to reconnect with him when we return to Monterrey, and find him walking among the living.

Finding flow.

We spent most of our time with Oso, who, like most of the kids in the community, has a troubling story. He told us about a time walking home when he was stabbed in the hip with a broken bottle – simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He has a big heart and loves rock climbing, but offered that sometimes his old life gets in the way.

Driving to the crag with Oso, you could literally feel the stress leaving his body. Rock climbing is not a hard task; however, if you let your mind wander – as when your barrio turns into a warzone – shit can go south fast. Watching Oso climb, we got the feeling that he was learning how to leave it all back in Lomas Modelo Norte. As he climbed, I saw him start to relax, and flow like water over a rock.

Inspired.

HighPoint Expeditions considers it a privilege to have spent the day with Escalando Fronteras.  We can’t begin to tell you how meaningful it was seeing their work; the flight back was buzzing with plans of a return trip.

We were inspired again to give back to the world.

Thank you, Escalando Fronteras for letting us walk in your shoes for a day! It will stay with us forever.

Climbing has immense potential to promote positive life pathways for youth in extremely adverse situations.  It is a unique and effective tool in remedying the problems that confront youth in the riskiest of contexts.

- Escalando Fronteras

Alejandro, Tiffany, Ninda, Oso


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