Maricela Rosales is an advocate, organizer, and volunteer. As Latino Outdoors’ Los Angeles Coordinator, she connects underserved communities to their local State and National Parks, organizing monthly outings and expanding accessibility to different types of outdoor recreation. She also volunteers for Access Fund in the Los Angeles area, building relationships with the climbing community, public land managers, and the San Gabriel National Monument.
She recently graduated from the San Gabriel Mountains Leadership Academy, which emphasizes civic engagement, community advocacy and project management of supporting local public lands. Upon graduation, she created a community project called “The Abilities Project,” a civic outdoor education access project that connects individuals with disabilities to green and open spaces and emphasizes the importance of engagement in protecting access to the San Gabriel Mountains. She brings her nonprofit experience in leadership development and training from her previous work in community outreach and engagement. Her mission is to create a snowball effect that enhances the experience of all communities.
“Living in an urban setting with no access to green and open spaces, I spent most days nose-deep in National Geographic magazines my dad hoarded at home. I day-dreamed about standing on top of a mountain, looking down at the landscape. I grew up in the heart of Los Angeles with a disability, surrounded by urban concrete. It wasn’t until someone took me outdoors for the very first time that I realized how powerful it is.
“My exposure to rock climbing, hiking and other outdoor activities changed the course of my life for the greater good. And because of my own exposure, I want to connect families, youth, and individuals with disabilities to green and open spaces and to experience different outdoor activities.”
Maricela is a member of the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program.