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Teen encourages kids with autism to reach new heights through Autism Climbs

Posted at 7:53 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 09:53:30-04

LOVELAND, Colo. — For 12-year old Amber, every inch up the rock wall is cause for great celebration.

"Oh look at you, you're doing so good," encouraged climbing coach, Isabella Carter. "Perfect, there you go!"

Carter, 17, is Amber's biggest cheerleader. The pair met through Autism Climbs, which teaches kids on the autism spectrum how to climb. Carter has been volunteering for the group for the past several years.

Autism Climbs Founder Yisha Wagner explained that children with autism can be "fantastic climbers."

Because of COVID-19, Wagner and Carter are bringing a mobile climbing wall to kids with autism who are considered high-risk.

"With this wall, it’s sad that I can’t visit everybody, but I can at least send out this message that I do send out to everybody now: We have not forgotten about you," Wagner said.

Carter shares a special bond with the kids. Her 7-year-old brother, Cameron, is also autistic, giving her a unique understanding of dealing with their special needs. She's watched her brother's confidence soar and recalls the emotional time he finally reached the top of a difficult climb to ring the bell.

"It was really really emotional. He’d been working on it for a long time and he was so happy when he reached the top," Carter said. "I could see the light in his eyes and the light go off in his head like, 'Oh, I can do this!' It was a really bright and amazing moment."

Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.