Meet Our Alumna: Mei C.

Mei Sport Climbing in Red Rock.jpg

I filled out the application and forged my parents’ signature.

We had no money.

They spoke no English.

But one thing was understood – I could get a scholarship.

I still remember taking the Muni train to the red brick building on 16th Street. Inside an office no bigger than a closet, April Cotte received my application. She was astonished that my 11-year-old, 80-pound-self had journeyed alone across San Francisco to hand it in.

It was 1999 when I went on the second-ever Project Courage trip. In many ways, it feels like yesterday.

I discovered my love of climbing that summer. My instructors were impressed by my speed and agility. They saw and celebrated me. It felt amazing to do something that I was good at.

I developed inner strength. The feeling of being powerful in my body spared me from an all-too-common self-critical adolescence. It stuck with me when I was sexually harassed in high school and when I needed to say “no” in college.

I still practice the conflict resolution skills I learned through GirlVentures. I can express how I feel with confidence and openly seek feedback in return. My partner attributes my ability to communicate my needs to the summers I spent on course.

To say that GirlVentures is life-changing doesn’t do it justice. Really, GirlVentures is life-giving.
All of my experiences with the organization – as a participant, and later as an intern and an instructor – laid the foundation of my development.

Now in my 30s, the impact GirlVentures has had on my life is more apparent than ever. I am compelled to share this incredible opportunity with a new generation of girls.

Will you join me in contributing to GirlVentures summer program scholarship fund? 

Thank you for supporting this incredible organization.