Ben Richmond ’13 spent January and February teaching English in Huaraz, Peru, where English is often necessary for employment.
Richmond also worked with a teacher from Teach Huaraz to help develop a wilderness therapy program for troubled youth. Richmond devised workshops on health, decision making and outdoor skills for a pilot expedition for about 10 local middle-school aged children. He also used some of his grant money to buy camping equipment, such as tarps and tents. The first group went out on a three-day camping trip in a nearby national park. “It was the first time for many of them,” Richmond said. “None of these kids had been outside.”
Despite Huaraz’s stunning location — it’s nestled in the Andes — many locals don’t enjoy nature in the way the many tourists who flock here for outdoor adventures do. “There’s an inequality of use of land around the city,” Richmond said. “It’s a big deal for tourists to go trekking, mountaineering and climbing, whereas people in Huaraz don’t get out.”
For one, it’s expensive. To access the park, one needs an automobile, which puts it out reach for many. “The director [of the therapy program] would like to expose more people to the outdoors and address the inequalities,” Richmond said.
Richmond continues to help promote the program online and is also trying to recruit more volunteers.