This year, Planet Granite was lucky enough to be able to donate $5,000 to the SharmaFund, a non-profit who dedicates their time to giving underprivileged kids the experience of rock climbing. Lisa, one of the SharmaFund’s coordinators, shares her experiences with the group:

Planet Granite + SharmaFund from Planet Granite on Vimeo.

In the video, you will see a couple of different groups that we’ve been doing ongoing trips with this fall. One is a middle school group from Bishop (Home Street Middle School), and the other is a middle school group from Big Pine (Big Pine Middle School). You will notice the happy faces of the young climbers, who only recently got introduced to the sport through us. We take them to a few different spots around the Bishop area. In the video are the Fish Slough Boulders and the Happy Boulders. These kids had never been to either spot before.

We enjoy tremendously the work we get to do through The Sharmafund, with generous donations made by Planet Granite. We don’t work with climbers; we work with kids. In the space of an hour or two, we see these kids come out of their shells and discover something new about themselves and their peers. They face their fears and nervousness head-on. They step outside their physical and psychological boundaries the second they step on the rock. They get so much out of being outside and climbing, and they are able to take this joy and sense of achievement with them back home and back to school.

Each year for the past several years we have run a Sharmafund-sponsored fifth-grade class trip for Bishop Elementary School in Bishop, Calif. One fifth-grade teacher, whose class we recently took this past October, wrote the following in response to our trip with her class:

“This climbing experience is a huge turning point for our class as a whole. In the beginning of the school year my fifth graders are figuring things out: how to be the new ‘top dogs ‘of the elementary school, adapting to a new teacher’s style and expectations, all the while figuring themselves out because they are teetering on the edge of adolescence. The rock climbing experience that The Sharmafund provides is amazing. My students are given a safe atmosphere where they feel comfortable and supported to take risks and try new things. To see my students’ faces as they succeed at something that is quite frankly terrifying to them, makes my heart burst. But almost even better is to watch my students be truly supportive and proud of their classmates as they cheer each other on. It is a breakthrough day for my class. It is a day of support, smiles, perseverance, and pride. This trip is my favorite day of the school year.” — Meghan Avila, 5th Grade Teacher, Bishop Elementary School

Video shot and edited by Cashus Puhvel