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.
My name is Mark Guido and I’m a 26-year-old American citizen. 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 for a living, an industry that attracts some of the most dynamic individuals because it gives you the flexibility to cultivate your passions. It helps give you the extra time to find out who you are and the support to become who you were always meant to be!
It was only recently (2017) that I discovered my love and addiction for summiting the world’s tallest peaks. To the surprise of nobody, there aren’t many mountains in Illinois. The highest point is a whopping 376 m high hill in northern Jo Daviess County, so you can understand my rather late interest. Even so, I’ve always had the soul of an adventurer. I’ve completed several long-distance treks in the past; journeys that have taken me to some of the far-flung reaches of the world. The circumnavigation of a mountain as opposed to the climbing of one, to reach its summit. Eventually, I wanted to go higher, and farther which would ultimately lead to my first high-altitude mountaineering experience in Africa where I completed Mount Kilimanjaro. I never quite considered myself an athlete as a kid, so when I reached the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, I fell in love with the challenge!
Climbing for a Cause
Project 43324 links my climb of the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents with supporting youth development for children in need around the world. The number 43324 represents the accumulated elevation of each peak in meters, and the financial goal looking to be met.
For some people, the thrill of the climb is the sole motivator, but I’m one of those people that needs to take in the scenery and enjoy the moment. On my various climbs, I’ve realized that the children of the areas I’ve visited did not have the resources for a decent education. I’m the son of a teacher, so I’m instantly aware that if something could be done for these kids, it should be done. I was quick to partner with different groups that support the local children and in doing so my project has helped the lives of many. Before each climb, I have the children sign a special flag unique to each location that I will take to the summit. This is what keeps me motivated. I’m no longer climbing for myself, I’m climbing with and for all these kids to show them that anything is possible.
So far, I’ve completed 3 of 7 summits, climbed 18,499 of 43,324 meters, and helped raise nearly $10,000 for youth development around the world. I’ve successfully summited the highest mountain in Africa, South America and Europe. In Africa, $1,000 has been donated to support Stella Maris English Medium Primary, a school located in Tanzania, that provides education to the underprivileged children of the local villages. In South America, $4,900 went to Quinta Betel – a remote children’s home in Mendoza, Argentina and in Europe, $1,820 went to SOS Children’s Village Moscow, an organization located in the district of Tomilino, Russia that provides support to the local children and their families. Those funds provided life-changing educational resources meant to further the development of youth who need it most.
A Collective Effort
In addition to funds being raised, I’ve teamed up with SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education) who is allowing me to bring donated activity books/art supplies with to these villages for the duration of my project.
Project 43324 has also teamed up with SOS Children’s Villages for the remaining climbs. SOS helps provide loving homes, education and medical care for children in more than 135 countries. The SOS locations that are being brought to attention via my project are the following:
- SOS Children’s Village Moscow, Russia
- SOS Children’s Village Chicago, Illinois
- SOS Children’s Village Jorpati, Nepal
- SOS Children’s Village Sanothimi, Nepal
- SOS Children’s Village Tabanan, Indonesia
This November, I return to South America to climb 3 Ecuador Volcanoes. These will serve as intermediary climbs as I gear up for Denali – the highest mountain in North America next June!
I’m dedicating my climb of Denali to SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, specifically the Chicago based location that provides support to the local children and their families in my home state.
I’ve really wanted to give back to my home state for a while now. I couldn’t think of a better way to do that, than by climbing the highest mountain in North America for its youth!
I welcome you to follow me and my mission and hope you will consider supporting these local groups that help children every day!
See you at the top!