SOS Outreach launches Tahoe program |

SOS Outreach launches Tahoe program

Provided to the Tribune
Provided to the TribuneSOS Outreach University students participate in a "Circle of Love" core value discussion at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – SOS Outreach, a non-profit directed to building character and self-esteem in youths kicked off its university program at Heavenly Mountain Jan. 9. The program connects 21 children and four mentors called sherpas. Designed to help students develop life skills, the university program encourages civic and community engagement while teaching leadership and advocacy skills.

“Our goal is to turn these kids into stewards of the environment, real community activists,” said program manager Justin Behravesh.

The university program is a four-year curriculum consisting of five days of snowboarding and an increasing amount of community involvement. In order to retain their seasons pass and season rental, the kids must complete three service-learning projects designed to illustrate the joys of helping others.

“SOS teaches me to be myself and be positive, it’s helping me to straighten up my life” said Kara Thomaselli, 11, of South Lake Middle School.

Although the program is starting small, the organization hopes that within the next few years they will have hundreds of youths involved. The growth of the group has lead to an opening of an office in Incline Village. The new base to the program has increased the number of students the group works with in the Tahoe area from 60 in 2010 to more than 300 this year.

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