SOS Outreach- Making the change

SOS Outreach- Making the change

Osias Madrid, Reporter

At SOS Outreach, the goal is to help kids gear up for life, ultimately changing the lives and communities they touch. With five full-time offices in three states along with national partnerships with ski resorts and the United States Forest Service, they work with at-risk students to help them shape their own future.

The SOS Outreach Program is on a mission to inspire the youth to make positive decisions for healthy and successful lives. Skiing and snowboarding work to keep its members motivated to succeed both inside and out of the classroom.

Kelsie Borland, a member of the community and program manager for Durango SOS, is extremely passionate about that goal.

“I grew up here, so I was lucky enough to be able to utilize Purgatory,” said Borland. “As a social worker, I’m always looking for ways to inspire the youth, which is why I decided to become the program manager. I found that keeping students busy with outdoor sports keeps them out of trouble.”

SOS Outreach is a nationwide program that is in its 25th year and has served over 50,000 young students from middle to high school in its time. Durango’s SOS program, in its 13th year, works with 20 volunteers and maintains partnerships with the school district and Purgatory. Meaghan Anderson, the ESS and SED teacher at Durango High School, is the string that ties DHS and the program together.

“The way the school works with SOS is that we get a list of students in the program, and they are held to the same eligibility requirements as an athlete at the school. The students really had to work their tails off some weeks, and had to plan ahead to make sure they could ride,” said Anderson.

Borland gives more detail on how the program functions, and what makes it so successful.

“We follow Six Core values that we teach to the kids who are a part of it, which are courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility. It gives the kids a chance to work on their social engagement and communication skills, along with inspiring them to work harder in school due to liability,” said Borland. “The program definitely helps too, as it gives the students a reason to be successful and rewards them for that, and the students are always doing their best work in the school,” said Borland.

“The program helped me to have more courage when I did things and talked to people. At home I helped out a lot more,” said Tristin Sanchez, a sophomore at DHS and member of the SOS Outreach program. “It’s beneficial to those who are in the program because we get to meet new people and learn about each other and how to be a mini-community, which is really nice,” said Sanchez.

Because of this program, the 75 middle and high school students who are a part of it are taught valuable social and work skills that will help them shape their lives. From responsibility and planning to compassion and discipline, these students are learning skills that will help them to shape their own future.