ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Kids around Roanoke will never forget the experience The Humble Hustle provided for them at their outdoor event on Saturday.

The fifth annual ‘Humble Hikes’ outdoor program on Saturday, Nov. 20 gave inner-city youth a chance to be exposed to outdoor adventures in which they might not normally participate. Some of the activities included rock climbing, fishing, and canoeing.

This comes at a time when violence has impacted Roanoke’s inner-city community in alarming waves.

The Humble Hustle’s CEO Xavier Duckett knows an alternative way to connect with the community’s youth is necessary.

“Getting our Black kids outdoors and showing them there is a career in this, or you can do this when you’re stressed, or this is in your backyard, or these are the things that you can do to cope,” said Duckett.

In addition, Duckett says this opportunity taught kids how to use mental, social, emotional, and physical skills to deal with the outdoor elements.

Kids need a positive role model to show them this can be done.

Guest speaker Leandra Taylor, who was part of the first all-Black group to climb Mount Kilimanjaro over a six-day span, shared why it’s important for kids to see her example.

“When I was preparing for this climb, I did hear like ‘Black people don’t do that’ and I was, like ‘speak for yourself because I can’t wait to do this.’ I want them to feel inspired, like they can do anything they can dream of if they can go out and put the work into it,” said Taylor.

Through this challenging adventure, Taylor says she learned nature provides a positive outlet.

“Nature is a space of healing,” said Taylor. “It’s a space that I love to go in to feel inspired, to cry, and get all my emotions out. I want to share with them all the ways nature inspires me.”

Backpacks were also handed out to the kids as part of the last outdoor event of the year.

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