Current and former foster youth embark on the their third annual Mount Shasta climb

For the third year in a row, current and former foster youth are offered a life-changing opportunity that will allow them to scale a 40,000 foot mountain.

Fostering Media Connections(FMC) is hosting a trip to Mount Shasta in support of current and former foster youth, giving them a chance to overcome trials in their past by conquering a mountain.

Fostering Media Connections is an off-campus program that supports current and former foster youth. Heather Matheson, a visual communications major at SF State, got involved with FMC through The Guardians Scholars Program, a support system at on campus for students that are current and former foster youth.

The sun casting a warm glow on a chilly Mount Shasta Climb.
[/media-credit]The sun casting a warm glow on a chilly Mount Shasta Climb.

Matheson is now an intern at FMC and the main coordinator of the Mt.Shasta climb scheduled to take place June 26 through the 30th.

“(The climb) empowers the youth to know that they can conquer anything,” Matheson said.

Matheson says she was born for this kind of stuff. She enjoys hiking, being athletic, soccer and art. This trip is important to Matheson because she was a former foster youth who entered the system when she was 13 and aged out when she turned 18.

“This is really important to me because I know first-hand you lose a lot of your rights as a foster youth,” Matheson said. “You don’t have control over where you end up living, what school you end up going to, really anything. I think foster youth really need to harness their political voice and use it.”

In 2010, Daniel Hempel founded Fostering Media Connections. Hempel put his love for mountaineering and child advocacy together and came up with the idea for the climb, according to Matheson.

“The bad things that happen (to foster youth) is a very small portion of the real story and the real story is young people doing amazing things everyday,” said Hempel. “If thats really what people thought about when they thought about foster care my belief is that they would get way more inspired and way more willing to jump in and lend a helping hand.”

Nineteen climbers will be participating in the climb this year, eight of which are foster youth. One of the few requirements for the climbers is to raise a current  amount of money to pay for their “room and board” and other expenses; foster youth are required to raise $250 and the other adults going are set to raise $1,500. Half of the funds raised are donated to the California Youth Connection and the other half goes to FMC.

Air BnB will be donating one breakfast, two lunches and one dinner, on top of many homemade snacks. The Fifth Season in Shasta will be donating the helmets for all the climbers. Sports Basement, Mission Cliffs and Rainbow Grocery Store have also donated to the climb.

Terra Marchant, Matheson’s best friend, was inspired by Matheson’s story and will be accompanying her on the climb at the end of this month.  

“Her past is a really big part of her life,” said Marchant. “This is actually something physical she can do to overcome what’s happened in her past.