WiSH executive director will climb Mt.Kilimanjaro to benefit education

Amy Daniels sitting near the summit of Mount Rainer in 2013. Courtesy of Amy Daniels

At 19,341 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro stands as Africa’s highest peak and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

In September 2017, Amy Daniels will conquer this summit and she will do it for the benefit of Santa Clarita public education.

As executive director of the WiSH Foundation, Daniels consistently works to ensure students have the tools in the classroom to succeed. She will be using her impending climb as a means to fundraise for the foundation through her website www.amydanielsclimbs.com.

“I need to bring awareness that there is a huge funding gap between what our students get and what our students need,” she said. “This time it’s all about WiSH and raising money, so hopefully people will go to my website and donate.”

Daniels said 100 percent of the tax-deductible donations will support students in grades 7 to 12 in the William S. Hart Union High School District.

“We get requests every single day from teachers and administrators that need assistance,” Daniels said. “We’re not talking about paper and pencils here; we’re talking about everything from upgrading computer labs to weather balloons to books in the library to high-tech calculators.”

Training for Kilimanjaro
Throughout her life Daniels has done countless hikes around the world, but this one, she said, is different.

To prepare for the 11-day journey to and from Kilimanjaro’s summit, Daniels is training with physical therapists and trainers at Henry Mayo Fitness and Health. She had her first introduction and evaluation with therapists Thursday.

“It was a very high tech and sophisticated evaluation,” she said. “I’ll probably be training over there three times a week with their physical trainers and therapists… and continuing my regular workout regimen as well.”

Those at Henry Mayo Fitness and Health will be working with Daniels to train her specifically for altitude, she said.

“I anticipate that 10 months of training is going to prepare me very well,” Daniels said.

Daniels also plans on completing training climbs in the Pacific Northwest before her climb to Kilimanjaro.

Reaching the Summit
When Daniels reaches the top of Mount Kilimanjaro she will not do it alone.

She will also bring with her a guide, her longtime friend and hiking partner Josh.

“When you’re climbing a difficult mountain, it’s emotional,” Daniels said.

“Having my friend Josh there actually will be inspiring to me because we both will provide emotional support to each other.”

Daniels said she also hopes a group of friends she has hiked around the world with during the past 30 years will be able to join her as well. However, for them to join, the climb will need expedition sponsors.

“We are looking for group sponsorship and funding,” she said. “There is exposure they (sponsors) can get for the next 10 months through the website, Twitter and Facebook.”

With this funding, the backpacking buddies will be able to conquer another peak of the world—together.

“We’ve been to the most spectacular places and now that we’re out of school, it’s how we celebrate our friendships,” she said. “I hope it continues forever.”

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