Sarah Kangas | A trip to Mount Kilimanjaro

Hello Warrenton community.  Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Sarah Kangas and I am the new K-4 Physical Education teacher at Warrenton Grade School. At the beginning of the school year, I packed up my car on the east coast and made a cross country move to the area. I’m a big lover of anything having to do with the outdoors. I knew that Oregon would be a good fit for me with all of the great local hiking, surfing, skiing, and riding.

Many of the teachers at WGS have heard about my upcoming trip to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa.  Let me tell you a little bit about the trip. The plan is to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro and stand on the roof of Africa at the beginning of next year!

Here’s the story.  As a young high school student, a quadriplegic friend asked me what I wanted to do with my life. My reply? “I want to help people”.  Little did I know that I would have a heart for working alongside children and adults with disabilities.  In America, many of my friends with disabilities have a loving support system, resources, and opportunities to be a valuable and contributing member to society.  The folks with disabilities in Kenya lead a drastically different life.  Outcast.  Shunned.  Desolate.  Insert – Kupenda for the Children.  Kupenda’s mission is to enable children with disabilities to achieve their full potential.  Kupenda  supports over 600 kids with disabilities and 16 special needs schools.  The goal of the hike is to educate the countries of Kenya and Tanzania that these kids with disabilities have value and purpose.  The way I’ll be doing that is by hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team of 10 other like-minded people.  The part I’m most excited about is the fact that we will be taking three students from a Kupenda school on the hike!  Come January, I’ll be standing atop Kilimanjaro with the Kupenda team and those three students!

It will be an experience for all: hiking adventures like this have made a vast impactful difference in my life.  I also know from experience how hiking adventures can change one’s own personal view of themselves – creating a reminder that I am so much more capable than I think I am.  Most importantly, this trip will create awareness for Kupenda.  While we are providing access to the mountain for these kids by supporting their intellectual needs, we are also bringing much needed attention to the disabled population in East Africa.  Feel free to check out the trip webpage at the following link: http://www.kupenda.org/kili/ While there, you will find more information about the trip, why we are doing it, and who is going.

I look forward to returning with many great photos and stories about the hike!