Mentoring the same team of 15 underserved youth for the past six years, Mike Leary’s incredible commitment through Explore Austin has given them the grit, curiosity and optimism that has changed the course of their lives forever. View Mike’s official Legend page, including video and photos from his presentation ceremony.
RecognizeGood: The Foundation presented the 48th RecognizeGood Legend award (for May 2015) to Mike Leary of Explore Austin in a ceremony that took place at the offices of Backwoods (3300 N Interstate 35 Suite 149, Austin, TX 78705), on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. As part of the award presentation, Explore Austin received a $1,000 pay-it-forward donation from RecognizeGood in Mike’s name.
For many of today’s youth, having someone there by their side through thick and thin is as valuable as it is rare. Mike Leary is one of those rare people, dedicating himself to mentor the same group of 15 underserved youth for the past six years – through thick and thin, he leads them through wilderness and up mountains, all the while imparting the character-building life skills that prepare them to make a mark with their lives. As Explore Austin’s Mike Braeuer tells it, Mike Leary’s commitment to Austin’s underserved youth “could never be counted – nor would he want it to be.” That’s because the entire Explore Austin program centers around commitment – founded in 2006, the program combines the benefits of mentoring and outdoor adventure in a 6-year program for Austin’s underserved youth in grades 6-12. A whopping 94% of the program’s explorers remain in the program for the full six years, and Mike’s special commitment to his explorers goes both ways as they learn and grow together.
Along with mentoring, Mike joined the Explore Austin Board of Directors in 2013 and immediately volunteered to chair the Development Committee responsible for raising close to $1MM in 2014. He has also served as the Chair of the 2012 Mentor Selection Committee, and Co-Chaired Explore Austin’s 2013 Rally personal fan fundraising campaign which raised over $26,000 and introduced 7,000 people to Explore Austin. Braeuer continues, “Mike’s impact on this organization and the youth we serve is ‘felt’, and each of us is inspired by the example he sets.”
As a 2015 Legend, Mike is now eligible to participate in RecognizeGood’s Say Thanks Austin campaign, an annual event which presents the Austin area with a unique opportunity to say “thank you” to a group of remarkable individuals who contribute their time and talents to our community. The participant with the most Thank You votes receives a pay-it-forward donation of $10,000 to the nonprofit of their choice.