youth

Edward Shares His Story

Hello everyone, I am Edward Robledo, a Senior at KIPP Austin Collegiate, and a graduate of Explore Austin. Thank you all for being here tonight. We are all united here this evening for the same reason: to support an amazing organization that I can honestly say changed my life. 

There wasn’t a day I didn't wake up excited to be out in the wilderness, there wasn't a day I didn't wake up overjoyed to be out learning from my Mentors. I learned how to start a fire, how to rock climb, how to be myself, how to mountain bike, how to be confident, and the most important of all, I learned how to believe in myself. Being surrounded by the beautiful landscapes is something I will always remember but when I think back to all of my trips and my six years in the Explore Program, I don't remember the crystal clear lakes or the powdery snow. I remember my friends, I remember the massive pine cone fight we had and most painfully of all I remember the hot sauce eating contest in which I ended up with Cholula in my eye. 

It’s the emotions I remember the most. It’s the feeling of wanting to quit but being pushed by not just my Mentors, but my friends. It’s the family we created that will always be my treasure. There were most definitely times that I wanted to quit, times that I could not stand to be put in uncomfortable situations where I had to face my fears, but those experiences pushed me beyond my limits and molded me into a person that not only my family is proud of, but a person I am proud to be. Looking back, I see my friends faces., I see the way that I grew and the shell I came out of; I see the the shy and small person I once was. I see the growth I couldn't have achieved on my own. I cannot imagine having grown up without my Mentors. Although I only spent one Saturday per month and and one week in the Summer with them, those short  days have equated to years of wisdom that have been my guiding light. 

New Mentor Feature: Caroline Hammond

Caroline Hammond is the Program Director for the Texas Cultural Trust, a statewide arts non-profit, advocating for the role of the arts in education. She leads the development of a technology intensive high school arts curriculum implemented in more than 250 schools across the state. The Trust also studies the impact of creative learning on student outcomes. The Trust is developing a grassroots campaign funded  by the Houston Endowment to research, district-by-district, the access Texas public school children currently have to arts education.  Previously, Caroline worked for the United States Department of Education in the Office of Postsecondary Education, for the Texas Legislature House  Higher Education Committee, and interned for the First Lady at the White House. Caroline, an Austin native, is a graduate of Pepperdine  University earning a BA in Art History and French. She is a member of the Junior League of Austin, a founding member of EngageATX, serves on the Austin Film Society INDIEpendents committee and the SXSWedu Advisory Board. Outside of work, Caroline is an avid cook, tennis player and considers herself to be a high functioning hippie. Caroline loves to hike, spend time at town lake, and walking in her neighborhood, Clarksville. Caroline became a mentor with Explore Austin to encourage girls to be brave, not perfect, and to live into the fullness of who they are meant to be. Caroline is still learning this herself.

 Explore Austin is excited to have Caroline on the Class of 2022 team and looks forward to the impact she will have in the lives of her Explorers! Click HERE to read about more of our awesome mentors! 

My Mentors Taught Me That

Blog Archive from November 4, 2010

908 miles from home, 50 miles into a 65-mile mountain bike trip, 9 miles into a 14-mile uphill “grunt” of a day… it starts to rain. I am not a kid anymore. Playing in the rain isn’t fun like it used to be. Cold rain was never fun. Cold rain on burning quadriceps doesn’t “cool” them off. I was miserable. It was only a few moments, but those are the kind that last the longest.

Bus Driver...The Best Job Ever!

Blog Archive from April 4, 2011
 
If you could have any job in the world, regardless of money, what would it be?  Someone recently asked me that question.  My response… “I’d keep doing exactly what I’m doing now.”  Their response… “You mean you would be the CEO of a nonprofit?”.  My response… “No, I’d keep my job as a bus driver.”  Seeing the look of confusion on the person’s face, I eagerly explained why, in my opinion, the best job in the world (for me) is bus driver.  Specifically, the driver of the Explore Austin bus!

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