People Went ‘Over The Edge’ to Help Local Youth

SACRAMENTO -- A hotel in downtown Sacramento hosted the 3rd annual Over The Edge challenge on Friday in support of Stanford Youth Solutions.

16 stories above the ground, people could rappel 'over the edge' of the Residence Inn in downtown Sacramento.

"I'm not scared of heights now I think... Because I did that," said Dylan Estep who is a foster youth.

Stanford Youth Solutions' mission is "inspiring sustainable change for young people and their families and empowering them to solve serious challenges together," according to their website. The Over The Edge challenge is a fundraiser the organization uses to support its programs.

"We serve youth that are in foster care, youth that are in mental health crisis, and also kids and families who are reunifying," said Laura Heintz, CEO of Stanford Youth Solutions.

Supporting youth and their families is important work but rappelling down the side of a building is a nice perk.

"It was great! It was great! I would do it all over again," exclaimed foster parent, Maria Ross.

Some of those kids and their foster parents were among dozens of people who rappelled more than 150 feet down the side of the building.

"The fun part was going down with my son. He graduated this year, so not only did he go over the edge with me, he's launching into college life," said Ross.

Ross says the support of the harness felt somewhat... familiar.

"Foster parenting is like going over the edge and being harnessed and strapped in with foster youth, Solutions gave us that security," Ross stated. "There has never been a time that I needed something and they weren't there to meet that need," she said.

The non-profit provides many resources and supplies to foster families.

Estep says they even help with things "like filling out resumes [and] college applications."

But organizers also work to empower the youth in their programs.

"These young people overcome tragedy and trauma and they're facing their fears, coming down safely, trusting-- trusting us and trusting the ropes, right?" said Heintz.

Heintz says rappelling down the side of a building boosts the kids' confidence.

FOX40's Olivia DeGennaro decided to also go 'over the edge' and said it was quite an experience.

Organizers with Stanford Youth Solutions told FOX40 that Over The Edge is a huge fundraiser for them every year; they have been able to raise more than $100,000 which will go right back towards helping struggling youth in the community.