Sky's the Limit Fund: Transforming teens' lives through wilderness therapy

Sky's the limit fund Sky’s the Limit Fund serves teens in crisis by providing financial help to enable them to attend wilderness therapy programs.

• Mission: Sky’s the Limit Fund (STLF) aims to transform the lives of youth in crisis and their families by providing access to wilderness therapy programs, coaching services to guide families during the transition home and outreach to educate the community on the benefits of wilderness therapy.

Studies show a rise in mental health illness in U.S. teens. One in five adolescents has had a serious mental health illness, such as depression and/or anxiety, at some point. Yet fewer than half of adolescents with a mental health problem received any kind of treatment in the past year.

Youth immersed in the wilderness for two to three months benefit from the powerful aspects of nature with licensed mental health professionals, enabling them to focus on their mental and physical well-being.

Wilderness therapy is expensive and rarely covered by health insurance, making it an unattainable option for many families. STLF, founded by two Los Altos residents, provides support to families that otherwise could not afford treatment. STLF partners with 10 wilderness therapy programs across the U.S. that are required to match the STLF funding, further reducing the financial burden on the family.

STLF provides critical transitional support through its Family Coaching Service when the teen returns home from wilderness therapy, giving the teen and families the best chance for success moving forward. The service provides 12-15 weeks of counseling and support free of charge to STLF families, and is also available to non-STLF families for a nominal fee. More than 75 families have participated in the service since its inception in 2016.

STLF helps put youth on the path toward becoming healthy and valued members of their family and community.

• 2019 update: STLF is set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020. The organization’s annual “NightLights” fundraiser is scheduled May 9 at Domenico Winery.

STLF has come a long way since 2010, providing $7,000 of support to two youth its first year and $579,435 of support to 112 youth and their families in fiscal year 2019. STLF added Aspiro Adventure Therapy in Utah to its Partner Program and plans to add one more wilderness therapy program in 2020. STLF continues to expand its reach by hosting community education and awareness events across the U.S., including in the Bay Area and Denver, and plans to take the events to Texas, New York and Chicago.

• Why the Holiday Fund is needed: The number of applications received by STLF exceeds available funds. The goal is to serve more than 115 youth and their families in 2020. The organization operates 100% on donations.

Sky’s the Limit Fund

Location: Sobrato Center for Nonprofits, Milpitas

Founded: 2010

Annual budget: $1.02 million

Staff: 8 part-time employees


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