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Equity in the Great Outdoors
Carlos Santini grew up hiking the mountains and swimming in the rivers of Honduras with his cousins. Carlos, who identifies as Latino, now lives in Los Angeles, CA and has been instrumental in providing over 70,000 youth in 19 cities across the country with high quality afterschool programs. Through his work with After-School All-Stars, one of Carlos’ most memorable outdoor experiences has been day-hiking the Appalachian Trail with students and their families.
Carlos says healthy living through an appreciation for the outdoors is one of the most important values he has been able to impart to his children. “It’s an ongoing struggle as a parent to instill these values and traditions in our kids when we’re surrounded by highways, busy streets, and few sprawling green spaces,” says Carlos.
During road trips to national parks with his family, Carlos recognized that not all races, creeds, and colors are afforded the same opportunity to stand in and appreciate natural spaces. As a Latino youth, Carlos’ experience was exceptional, learning early-on to understand the benefits of physical activity, such as growing up running track and field with his four siblings as a family past-time. Today, he stresses the importance of passing on such lessons to BIPOC youth. "Don’t give up on promoting and modeling healthy lifestyles,” says Carlos. “If we give up and throw our hands in the air, our youth will look back and say, ‘Why did you give up on me?’ They will appreciate us modeling healthy lifestyles and live healthier lives because of it.”