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Meredith Ishida hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for Casa

SkinnyD

Meredith Ishida

Trail: Pacific Crest Trail     Goal: 2660 Miles
Dates: Apr 16 2013 - Sep 12 2013
Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos is an organization caring for children in crisis. After working there for five years, I am now hiking the Pacific Crest Trail to raise the money that will allow children at Casa de Esperanza to live, grow, and thrive. ... more
Total
Pledges
Total
per Mile
Total
Pledged
Miles
Hiked
Dollars
Hiked
Total
Donated

9

$3.70

$9842.00

2660

$9842.00

$8432.20

Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos - the House of Hope for Children - is a safe place for children in crisis due to abuse, neglect or the effects of HIV. Casa de Esperanza provides residential, medical and psychological care according to the needs of ... more
Journal
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Thruhiking Through Life

Casa de Esperanza - Mile ??? - Mar 22nd, 2013

A long distance hike is hard. Really hard. The body is subjected to heat, cold, altitude, wind, and the simple but unrelenting wear and tear of walking all day every day. Plus, most thruhikers do not get adequate nutrition or rest, resulting in overuse injuries, excessive weight loss, and exhaustion. My 2011 hike was easily the physically hardest endeavor I have ever undertaken.
And yet, it would not be an exaggeration to say that our journeys are a piece of cake compared to the journeys that the children of Casa de Esperanza are walking.
The typical Casa child comes to us between the age of birth and six years, but they have already experienced and seen far too much. Even before the journey began, the odds were stacked against them, for most were exposed to drugs and alcohol in the womb. After being born, they lived in substandard housing, homeless shelters, or even the streets. They all experienced abuse or neglect, as well as poverty. Casa children have witnessed violence and substance abuse, as well as various inappropriate behaviors. Their lives were full of chaos and uncertainty, fear and lack.
Then one day something happens. CPS finally notices and orders that they be removed from current living situations. Or a mother makes the wise but excruciatingly difficult decision to voluntarily place them in foster care. One way or another, they show up at our door. They are dirty and sick, bruised and afraid. I myself have cared for children that were admitted to Casa smelling of cigarette smoke, with head lice and scabies, burn scars, black eyes or fractured skulls. And those are just the visible pieces of evidence; the inner scars are often subtler but far more painful.
Sound like a thruhiker yet? I remember dragging into Castella, where a friend sized up my uncombed hair, tattered clothes, and sweat-streaked face, then affectionately told me, "You look like a homeless wench." Or even outside Paradise Cafe, where Liz and I caught a ride with a woman who told us, "Wow, you're REALLY dirty." I still have scars from Mather Pass.
So, you see, it is not too far of a stretch to say that the children in my care are on a two-thousand mile journey of their own.
And, for the vast majority, Casa de Esperanza is not the Monument 78 of their trail, it is not the end; their journey continues. They return to their parents, or continue on to another foster home. Some spend their childhood in and out of foster care, others will live with relatives for a time, then parents, in shelters or homeless. We hope that their lives only get better, but we know that without a firm beginning, many will have difficult adolescences and adulthoods.
Casa de Esperanza, then, is a trail angel's home. For just as trail angels offer themselves to hikers, we give to these small trekkers as they need: They come to us hungry, we feed them. They are exhausted, we let them rest. They are sad or scared, we play. We encourage them and affirm their goodness, knowing that they will go back into the harsh world and get hurt again. What we give them is not enough, and yet we must do what we can. Because it DOES make a difference. I remember individual tiny acts of kindness on my hike that stayed with me long past the moment. Yes, the food is gone in a few minutes, the warmth of a campfire in a few hours, and even the Saufleys have a two-night maximum stay. But the memory of these moments allowed me to push on during the harder parts of the trail, to keep walking knowing that I am not alone. If I can give that to each child, if each child leaves my home with a few memories to keep them going when life is difficult and painful, then it is all worth it.

SkinnyD

Casa de Esperanza - Mile ??? - Mar 22nd, 2013

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Sponsors

Anonymous
Making a difference in the world!
$0.05 per mile
up to $133.00

$133.00 paid!

Kathleen Foster
Thank you from all the children at Casa
$0.02 per mile
up to $53.20

$53.20 paid!

Anonymous
Dicey -- Good luck and happy trails!
$1.00 per mile
up to $2660.00

$2660.00 paid!

Meg Gentle
Go dicey!!!
$1.00 per mile
up to $2660.00

$2660.00 paid!

Shelley Starr
Dicey, thanks for keeping the children in your heart.
$0.02 per mile
up to $53.20

$53.20 due

Leanne Hall
Best of lucky Dicey!
$0.01 per mile
up to $26.60

$26.60 due

Bryan Ishida
Good luck! From your little bro and puppy Bruce!
$0.10 per mile
up to $266.00

$266.00 paid!

Anonymous
Los Ninos smile with every step you take!
$1.00 per mile
up to $2660.00

$2660.00 paid!

Anonymous
Have a great journey from a fellow wilderness lover!
$0.50 per mile
up to $1330.00

$1330.00 due