Modo 8k spotlights Take a Hike’s successful, unique approach combining experiential learning and a culture of service to one’s neighbor.

March 18, 2014; Vancouver, BC — When Rosie steps onto the stage to address the post-race runners at the Modo 8k on March 23 and tells of the community who supported her to get there, she means it.

“My early high school experience was brutal. I couldn’t concentrate and never understood the work. I found school to be overwhelming,” writes the 17-year-old in a pre-release of her speech. “After awhile I stopped attending classes all together. I would just get stoned with my friends and waste the day. This got me suspended and later expelled from my school. I attended three schools after that, and screwed that up too. Then I stumbled upon Take a Hike…”

Take a Hike Foundation is an alternative high school program for students on the margins. Many of its students share similar stories: they hated school and often skipped classes, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and were expelled repeatedly – until they discovered Take a Hike.

The full-time education program engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy and community involvement. Serving as the backbone of the program is the network of community members and organizations supporting the students, contributing funding, programming and gear for student expeditions. Since 2000, the community of dedicated, passionate staff, therapists, mentors, volunteers and donors have been empowering teenagers who might otherwise never finish school to not only graduate but also heal and grow themselves and their communities. The result? More than 80% of students complete the program every year. In 2013, 100% of grade 12 students crossed the stage with a high school diploma.

Following the example set by the program’s chorus of supporters, students contribute a full day of community service every week. Last year, students contributed 1,400 hours in their communities – 400 hours more than what was required as part of the curriculum. “I learned how much others do for us and this motivates me to give back,” said one student.

“Volunteering through Take a Hike is often the first opportunity our students are given to contribute to their community in a meaningful way,” says Take a Hike Foundation executive director Jaydeen Williams. “We find that the leadership skills and confidence they build translate to social and academic success in the classroom.”

And it is this emphasis on both community involvement and engagement with the great outdoors that made Take a Hike an ideal match as charity partner in the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k race (or, “Modo 8k”) around Stanley Park, which organizers at Canada Running Series describe as a fun, community-oriented race, popular among new and experienced runners who favour group runs and volunteerism.

Modo marketing director Hilary Henegar is thrilled to bring on Take a Hike as Modo 8k charity partner: “Just as carsharing helps to build healthy, connected cities by reducing vehicles on the road to lower air pollution, preserve green space and encouraging more active modes of transportation, Take a Hike fosters healthy, connected communities.”

All funds donated through the Modo 8k go directly to Take a Hike, which is running a special contest on the day of the race to encourage additional donations above pre-race day pledges. Anyone who donates $8 at the Modo 8k will be entered to win two spots in Take a Hike’s May 24 paddling expedition, and Modo will kick in wheels and a free membership to get the lucky winner to the event.

About Take a Hike Foundation

Take a Hike is a full-time alternative education program that engages at-risk youth through a unique combination of adventure-based learning, academics, therapy, and community involvement. This unique, alternative education program has been very successful in helping Vancouver’s at-risk youth work through their emotional issues and addictions, and to develop confidence, teamwork, and leadership skills, and graduate. Every student in the Take a Hike program perform community service hours each year. The purpose is to demonstrate to youth that, as members of a larger community, they have a responsibility to others and that their help is needed. Valuable work experience is also gained.

About Modo

Modo is Metro Vancouver’s only local carshare co-op, since 1997. Thousands of Modo members share access to hundreds of cars, trucks, vans and electrics across Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, UBC and even Horseshoe Bay. Last year, the mission-based, not-for-profit co-operative donated carsharing to more than 60 community organizations. Modo not only shares vehicles but also its booking software, which it donates to carshare startups all over the globe, giving Modo members access to vehicles in those cities, from Nanaimo to New York and São Paulo to Sydney.

About the Modo 8k

The Modo Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k (or, “Modo 8k”) takes place every spring in beautiful Stanley Park. This year, thanks to new title sponsor Modo, finishers’ medals will be introduced for the first time for everyone who crosses the line at the Stanley Park Pavilion, and an enhanced prize purse that has already attracted an outstanding field of elite runners. As well, a post-race community fair celebrating the healthy, connected city will feature fun all-ages activities for runners and families. The Modo 8k is part of the Canada Running Series, which since 1999, has gained international recognition for innovation and organization. It is strongly committed to staging great experiences for runners of all levels from Canadian Olympians and International stars, to healthy lifestyle people and charity runners; and to making sport part of sustainable communities and the city-building process.