Photos by Fred Pompermeyer.
Covenant House California is a nonprofit organization that provides sanctuary and support for youth ages 18–24 facing homelessness and human trafficking. They’ve been offering crucial services to address the holistic health of their beneficiaries since 1988, including meals, case management, education, medical care, internships, and clothing. Hollywood Boulders has been proud to join the Hollywood branch of Covenant House in offering opportunities for both staff and constituents to connect with themselves and each other through climbing.
Anthony Conley, Covenant House’s Community Involvement Coordinator, met Nash, Hollywood Boulders’ manager, through their development team. They both share a passion for the local community and have seen the ways climbing can be a positive force in people’s lives. While climbing may appear to be an unlikely activity for people experiencing homelessness, it has proven to be beneficial in a variety of ways for the folks at Covenant House.
“Climbing helps build rapport with case managers and gives the youth a sense of confidence,” Anthony says. “It motivates them to pursue more physical activity, and strengthens their relationships with their peers.”
It’s also important that the youth have the opportunity to experience overcoming challenges in a fun and positive way. “There’s a strong element of encouragement and perseverance in climbing,” Anthony has noticed, which are both perspectives that can be applied outside of the gym as well as within.
“[Climbing] is something that everyone can do. You don’t need any experience.”
And while climbing might seem intimidating at first, Anthony finds that it’s a very accessible activity. “It’s something that everyone can do. You don’t need any experience.”
As far as goals for the program, both Anthony and Nash are working on making climbing days for Covenant House a monthly or bi-weekly event, and are looking forward to identifying highly engaged participants who might want to try climbing more regularly. “We’d love to be able to foster one of our youth’s growth in rock climbing,” Anthony says.
It’s an honor for us to be able to offer support to organizations like Covenant House, and we can’t wait to have them back in the gym. Click here to get involved with CHC!
If you work with a local nonprofit or community organization and would like to climb with us at Hollywood Boulders, get in touch with us at (323) 747-1000.