My name is Alex and I was born and raised in Oakland, CA. My parents were refugees who left everything that they knew to come to the U.S. to create better lives for their future generations. My parents had nothing when they came to the United States and that meant that we didn’t always have the stability or opportunities that other kids had growing up. It wasn’t until high school, when my family finally had some financial stability, that I was able to participate in sports. Playing sports has taught me so many lessons which carried over to finding success in other areas of life and made me the person that I am today.
I opened Oaktown Boulders to give kids like me the opportunity that I never had as a child. Sports, specifically rock climbing, can teach a child so many different things that will transfer to the rest of their lives. Rock climbing taught me how to have a growth mindset and that being bad at something doesn’t define you. You will fail over and over again when you rock climb- it’s unavoidable. And that’s ok, because it happens to everyone, even the best of the best. You learn that failing is not something to be ashamed of and you have to accept it so that you can learn and get better. The problem is that rock climbing has not traditionally been a sport that kids like me have had the opportunity to get into. So I opened up Oaktown Boulders in my own hometown to reach kids like me.
Oaktown Boulders is a one-of-a-kind rock climbing facility located in the Fruitvale district of Oakland, home to the city’s largest Hispanic population. Our climbing wall system is custom built from the ground up specifically with the purpose of coaching and teaching the local youth. One of our main focuses is to introduce rock climbing to the local public school students where a large majority of them are on free or reduced lunch. We also use our facility to serve populations that do not feel welcomed in your traditional rock climbing gyms, including gender non-binary, unschooled/homeschooled, neuro-diverse, disabled, and low-income families.