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#NiceWork! Woven into the fabric of Yosemite National Park’s western border is Evergreen Lodge, a social enterprise whose residence welcomes travelers from all walks of life and offers the greatest form of hospitality: compassion.   

Throughout your stay at Evergreen you will be greeted by young men and women, ages 18 to 24, who have been given the opportunity to realize their full potential through Evergreen’s Youth Program.  The Youth Program at Evergreen welcomes at-risk young people in the Bay Area to act as interns of the program, assisting with housekeeping, maintenance, kitchen utility, and customer service throughout the resort. Co-owners, Brian Anderluh, Dan Braun, and Lee Zimmerman have developed a business model that aims to have a long-term positive impact on at risk youth. Interns are “setup to be on the path of their next step, that could be either college admissions, getting a full-time job, living on their own, or just being independent,” said Assistant Intern Program Manager Crystal Macias in their Youth Employment and Personal Growth Video

Alma Escalante, who lived in a youth shelter before her internship, describes the program in Fortune Small Business as a “lifesaver” that has given her the opportunity to save money for college. The management team is anchored in Evergreen’s belief in self-realization through a kind community. “We have been able to attract fantastic staff whose priorities are aligned with ours and who have the kind of compassionate personality that is a good fit for our industry,” says co-owner Zimmerman.

There are four components to Evergreen’s approach to youth development:

1) Gaining real work experience at the lodge through employment,

2) Expanding the possibilities of life by participating in Yosemite outdoor recreation,

3) Individualized one-on-one assistance to help interns conquer obstacles hindering them from achieving their goals, and

4) The opportunity to live in a healthy a supportive community.

Unlike other Youth Programs, Evergreen lodge emphasizes the importance of comprehendible action steps. Youth participating in the program leave the high paced urban setting and slow down to self-reflect and develop. The goal is to walk them through the steps of being a good employee. Joe Juszkiewicz, Evergreen’s General Manager, says the program shows interns how to show up to work on time, present themselves, interact with others, and deal with conflict on the job.

If you would like to spend your next compassionate camping trip at Yosemite National Park learn more about Evergreen Lodge on their website: http://www.evergreenlodge.com. Each of us is on a journey to realize our full potential. Use your passion to inspire others and embrace your capacity to make a positive impact.

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