People Making A Difference: High School Students Share Love Of Outdoors With Underprivileged Youth

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SOUTH PASADENA (CBSLA) — A group of South Pasadena teens found a way to give hundreds of children a taste of the great outdoors this summer, and they’re hoping to do it again next year.

The three 17-year-old boys — Evan Coal, Tianho Wei and Aidan Lewis — grew up learning as they explored nature. It was an appreciation they said they wanted to share with children who otherwise wouldn’t have those experiences.

“We really had a passion for science and hiking, and we wanted to make this dream a reality,” Coal said. “But we didn’t have the resources until the Dragon Kim Foundation helped us out.”

The Dragon Kim Foundation awards fellowships to high school students looking to improve their communities in the memory of their son, Dragon Kim, who lost his life camping in Yosemite.

“I know for sure it impacts kids when you go an volunteer with them, because they really look up to teenagers,” Lewis said.

With the help of the foundation’s mentoring and $5,000 grant, the three rising seniors were able to provide science education to  160 children through their program Youth Outdoor Science Education, YOSE.

“We wanted to put emphasis on being outside and learning,” Lewis said. “And that’s really what the kids responded to a lot more.”

The children from the Boys and Girls Club of Pasadena and Family Forward spent the summer interacting with exotic animals, hiking Malibu beaches and Altadena and conducting their own hands-on science experiments.

“I really feel like the biggest takeaway for me is that every kid loves science,” Coal said. “Every kid loves the outdoors, they just might not know it yet.”

The three teens are hoping they’ll be able to run the YOSE program again next summer and are currently campaigning for a second grant from the Dragon Kim Foundation.

“I’m just feeling really great that I spent my summer really well with my friend the kids,” Wei said.