Local organization takes action to give students more opportunities

A local organization is taking action to give students more opportunities.

FOX 29's Bill Anderson has the story.

Kathryn Smith, an English teacher at Sayre High School, faces the challenge of teaching kids from rough environment's every day.

"A lot of the students come from a violent environment. They keep their shield up,"she said.

It's pretty universally accepted that what you experience firsthand has a direct impact on your growth, learning and development

And that's what one of the Sayre's students said when asked to describe a school outing.

"You know I live in the hood, not everybody gets the chance to come out here and do stuff like this."

But too many young people, particularly from inner cities, don't experience much outside of their neighborhood or city. In a nutshell, group leaders like Lee Emery say that's the point of Outward Bound.

"These challenges are supposed to get these students out of their comfort zone and in a learning zone where they can grow."

For years Outward Bound has been taking young people on trips to teach them that there is much more out there than what they may see and they can do much more than they may know.

On a recent trip to the Wissahickon with students from Sayre High School and the transformation was impressive. Some started off as typical students too cool to participate. Played a few games to break down their defenses and get to know each other better. And quickly were ready to take on the challenge of the day; the ropes course.

The physical part of the climb and jump was one thing, but watching inner city teens, many who are used to not opening up, trust their classmates and challenge themselves was amazing.

Alex was one of the kids who wanted nothing to do with the trip initially but after not only climbing but doing it blindfolded you could see the day's impact.

"I got over my fear. The first time, I went I was too scared to do it, but then I jumped and saw it wasn't that hard of a thing to do."

And Niylah was equally impacted. "I'm gonna keep on trying until I'm not scared to do it anymore."

This Outward Bound journey was only a day but the message from Lee Emery and other organizers was lasting

"There's more in all of our students than we know and when we give them these challenges and chances to rise to the occasion you'll often see it."

Outward Bound has been proving it for years, give our kids a challenge and they just might surprise us. For Goodness Sake.