• Social Innovation Fellowship


Computer Science

Award Year 

Kids in the Canyon

Central Falls, RI

Kids in the Canyon is a program at Central Falls High School that mentors, trains, and outfits 12-15 students each year to hike up to 50 miles in Grand Canyon National Park. Through a curriculum of bi-weekly meetings involving team-building activities, personal reflections, skill-development workshops, guest speakers, and community engagement projects, participants build a network of support, leadership skills, and wilderness preparedness. Kids in the Canyon transforms under-performing students into engaged leaders and stewards of the land capable of reaching their full potential.

I grew up in a family that loves to be inside; it wasn't until I arrived at Brown that I discovered how much more at home I felt in the outdoors. I have been a part of some really wonderful outdoor education groups at Brown including the Outdoor Leadership Environmental Education Program (OLEEP) and Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT), and these experiences have taught me about the incredible power of the outdoors to heighten connections with others and promote profound self-discovery. At the end of my first year at Brown, I declared a leave of absence and spent five months hiking across Spain, farming in Hawaii, picking apples on the border of Syria and Israel, and learning to mountaineer in Colorado. Essentially, this semester allowed me to begin to know the earth and the mountains that I didn't meet growing up.

My experiences in the outdoors have certainly reinforced for me the incontrovertible power of nature to promote learning, growth, and empowerment. Unfortunately, opportunities in outdoor recreation have typically been reserved for those with the privilege of time and money to enjoy them. I want to make these opportunities ubiquitously available, especially to low-income high school students, whom I believe hold the most potential for impact. I believe that Kids in the Canyon successfully harnesses the power of the outdoors to transform under-performing high school students into engaged and empowered citizens, and I am so excited to be a part of carrying that mission out.