However you found yourself on my page, I truly thank you for taking the time to explore with me and learn more about Project 43324.
A waiter by day, climber/youth advocate/storyteller by night. My name is Mark Guido and I’m 26 years old. I’m from the greater Chicago area, where steel mountains reign supreme and snowy peaks are left to my imagination.
I’m currently waiting tables, a flexible industry that has allowed me to venture off and adopt a very unique lifestyle, one that finds me in the midst of climbing the ‘Seven Summits,’ the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and ultimate dream of many mountaineers.
This interest in verticle originally stemmed from my love of long-distance trekking. These long arduous journeys were generally the circumnavigation of a mountain as opposed to the summiting of one. Eventually, I wanted to go higher, and farther which would ultimately lead to my first high mountaineering experience. I successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa on October 25th, 2017. I was hooked.
When you find yourself in the mountains, you feel as if you’re at the edge of human existence. You are forced to see yourself for what you really are, a visitor on this incredible planet, here for only a blink of an eye. Feeling this way can truly change one’s outlook on life and how you spend your time. I plan on doing all I can to help provide life-changing resources for youth in need, globally.
I hope the attention garnered by climbing the world’s tallest peaks can help promote Project 43324’s vision.
The ‘Seven Summits’ are defined as the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents.
I conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa back in October 2017. Before my climb transpired, I visited Stella Maris English Medium Primary, a school that provides education to the underprivileged children of the local villages in Tanzania. It was a school I had been raising money for, prior to leaving.
The inspiration for fundraising came on my Mt. Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal a few months prior. Seeing first hand how underdeveloped the country was, and the lack of resources available for children in remote mountain villages really prompted me to want to make a difference in Tanzania
Stella Maris forms a small group of schools in Tanzania, that teach English as a first language and a big reason why they deserve the attention. English is a critical skill to have a chance at competing for scarce secondary school openings as entrance exams for secondary schools are administered in English. Becausethe lack of English being taught, the dropout rate is extremely high, and kids are being set up to fail. English fluency opens the doors to many job opportunities, which is why bringing attention to organizations like Stella Maris is so vital!
My time at Stella Maris may have been short, but it was a humbling one. The children were joyous and driven to learn, in an environment that allowed them to thrive.
I met a boy in grade six who pulled up a chair for me at his desk. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said a scientist! It was a response I didn’t necessarily expect to hear, but a welcoming one. I instantly wanted to know his inspiration for a career choice like that. His answer? “Jimmy Neutron.” He was referring to The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, an American animated television and book series that amusingly found its way to Tanzania. The TV series/book is about a fifth-grade genius, always inventing some new gadget to solve a new problem. The boy’s interest was sparked to become a scientist and I wanted to help Stella Maris continue to produce the necessary resources to see his dream along with others come to fruition.
This is one of many experiences that has prompted my support for organizations that empower young people with resources to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. Stella Maris will forever be a source of inspiration for Project 43324.
WHO WE ARE
Project 43324, links my climb of the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents with supporting youth development for children in need. 43324 represents the accumulated elevation of each peak in meters, and the financial goal looking to be met for seven organizations (both domestic and international). The overall funds that are raised will be divided between each organization.
$1,000 in unrestricted funds was donated to Stella Maris English Medium Primary School back in 2017, when I was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and first started raising money for youth development. Those funds went toward the ongoing construction of a new dining hall that will hold 350+ students for school assemblies.
To date, over $4,000 in overall funds has been raised for Quinta Betel – a children’s home nestled away at the base of the Andes, and organization I’ve dedicated my climb of Aconcagua to – the tallest mountain in South America. Because the internet is arguably the most powerful tools for education, helping connect the remote children’s home has always been my primary focus. As education evolves and adapts with technology, so must the world in how it utilizes educational resources. $3,700.94 has been donated to World Hope Outreach, Inc. a partnered organization with Quinta Betel that raises awareness and support for the children’s home in Mendoza, Argentina. These are restricted funds that will go toward the installation of a fixed wireless internet tower on the property – a first of its kind in the region. $999.06 went toward laptops and accessories that will aid in the assistance of an education program that is being implemented for Quinta Betel through Humanity Del’ Sol, Inc. another partnered organization committed to finding alternative therapy opportunities for youth in need.
The remaining funds will be unrestricted and put toward SOS Children’s Villages USA. They will be funneled through 5 SOS locations where the remaining climbs transpire.
SOS Children’s Villages is the largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children in 135 countries, including the United States. SOS creates culturally sensitive, community-based, stable, loving families worldwide for children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose families are unable to care for them. They build families for children in need, help them shape their own futures and share in the development of their communities. They want these children to grow up according to their own culture – happy, healthy, educated and confident young adults so that they become contributing members of their community.
SOS Children’s Village is based on four principles: Each child needs a mother and grows up most naturally with brothers and sisters, in their own home, within a supportive community or “village” environment. They keep siblings together and support each child individually until they become an independent, young adult. If there are no adequate educational opportunities in the community, SOS builds their own preschools, kindergarten, elementary schools, and high schools. Their Youth Centers and Vocational training Centers help young people make the transition to become independent, self-sufficient adults.
The 5 SOS Children’s Village locations that are being brought to attention via Project 43324 are the following:
- SOS Children’s Village Moscow, Russia
- SOS Children’s Village Jorpati, Nepal
- SOS Children’s Village Sanothimi, Nepal
- SOS Children’s Village Tabanan, Indonesia
- SOS Children’s Village Chicago, Illinois
Up next is Mount Elbrus – the highest mountain in Europe and a climb being dedicated to SOS Children’s Village Moscow. I’m looking to raise money from now until I leave, that will provide life-changing resources for youth that need it most in Russia.
Linking something as compelling as climbing the ‘Seven Summits’ with youth advocacy, is meant to help garner attention to the great work these organizations are doing for youth who need it most!
I will be carrying special flags with me to every summit, exclusive to each organization. Each flag will be signed by the superstar children of each regional organization.
Your gift, no matter how small will truly make a difference! Thanks again for taking the time to explore with me and learn more about Project 43324.
Please consider a donation HERE