MAIA Impact club hikes to raise awareness


Kelsey Holzman

Club members hiking along the Montara Mountain Trail on Saturday, April 16.

Leilani Dougherty, Staff Reporter

Burlingame’s MAIA Impact club hosted a fundraising hike at the Montara Mountain Trail in San Pedro Valley Park on Saturday, April 16. 

The hike, organized by club president Kylie Holzman and vice president Alexis Wong, was meant to recreate the annual hike that students from the MAIA Impact School in Guatemala participate in. 

“All the students hike up a volcano together, and the hike is symbolic of ‘if you can make it up this really grueling trail and if you can succeed at this, then you know you can succeed in your education,’” Holzman said. 

The MAIA Impact School opened in 2017, aiming to offer high-quality education to Indigenous young women in rural Guatemala. Holzman started the club at Burlingame in 2019, and they have provided fundraising support to the school ever since, mainly through bake sales held at home football games. 

Because the hike was the first in-person fundraising event since COVID-19, the event required extensive planning.

“It’s been a little bit difficult to plan, but we luckily have a pretty sizable club,” Holzman said. “We have lots of people that have been helping out in different capacities. Some people work on social media, some people work on logistics: writing emails, reaching out to businesses for food and other things like that.” 

The hike featured an optional donation station at the entrance where participants could either offer cash or pay through the MAIA Impact School’s website. At the end of the hike, free snacks were available at the communal picnic area. 

 Although the hike was primarily for fundraising purposes, members of the MAIA Impact Club aimed to do more than just collect participant’s money — they wanted to ensure an inclusive environment.

“We want them to get a sense of community,” Wong said. “And we obviously want them to know more about this club and hopefully inspire them to do something similar, maybe donate money. But also, Kylie was the one who started this club in the first place. I think it’d be really cool just to see other people reach out and start similar clubs.”

Since both leaders of the club are seniors, the club’s future plans are up to the underclassmen members. Sophomore Olivia Johnson will take over as president next year, and the current leadership has faith that she will be able to continue supporting MAIA’s efforts. 

“Everyone has a lot they can bring to the club. They’ve definitely learned a lot about MAIA and their mission. It seems like they know what it’s about and they’re inspired themselves,” Holzman said.