Months after moving to California at age 10, Vincent Culliver's family found themselves homeless on the streets of downtown San Diego. For someone who has experienced trauma at a young age, the fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Vincent found Outdoor Outreach, a San Diego non-profit that showed him that more was possible, starting with standing up on a surfboard, or topping out on a climb.
Today, Vincent is an assistant field staff instructor at Outdoor Outreach, where he has the opportunity to help kids who are struggling with a lot of the same issues he has. By using the outdoors as a place for young people to learn and grow, he is helping inspire other San Diego teens to respect and protect the parks, trails and beaches where they play. Without connection to the environment it is hard for young adults in under resourced communities to see the value in it all.
Being at Outdoor Outreach has empowered Vincent to have his voice heard, providing opportunities for him to affect conservation policy at the local, state and national levels. Vincent has testified to the California Resources Secretary, Director of California State Parks and Secretary of the Interior; and the recommendations of he and his colleagues have been integrated into key California policy and legislation, including the Parks Forward Commission Final Report and the $3.1 Billion Parks Bond approved by the State Assembly. As a voice for change, Vincent can help advance equitable access to public lands for youth from low-income, “park-poor” communities.