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evo x SOS Outreach

Building Professional Skills Through Partnership

When brothers Alonzo, 22, and Alberto, 21, walked through the doors of the evo Denver store to begin internships with the values-driven outdoor retailer, they felt an immediate sense of community. It was something they had felt before—during their years in our Mentor program at SOS Outreach.  

“SOS set this foundation for me,” shares Alonzo. “It’s really helped me succeed in life. It’s having that foundation to build on, because if you don’t have that foundation, it can be really tough.” 

Alonzo joined SOS during his freshman year in high school. His younger brother, Alberto, joined shortly after. The two quickly bonded with their SOS mentor, Jamie, who became a trusted adult they could open up to. 

“Jamie has always been that person I could go to for advice, when it may have felt uncomfortable to talk to my parents,” shares Alonzo. “Jamie was such a great mentor. There’s a lot of kids out there that need that extra person to talk to. When I learned my girlfriend was pregnant our senior year, I was really nervous to let my parents know, because I thought maybe they were going to be disappointed in me. But having Jamie around, being able to talk to him was very comforting.”

 At SOS, we focus on removing barriers for underrepresented youth through positive mentorship, core values and community service—using the outdoors as a launching pad to thrive. Jamie mentored Alonzo and Alberto through ups and downs, empowering them to discover their courage to overcome obstacles, just as they did on the mountain. 

Since their time in SOS, both brothers have remained close with Jamie. After they graduated from our Mentor program and finished high school, Alonzo joined the military and Alberto focused on growing the family’s cleaning business. When Alonzo returned from the military to spend more time with his young son and help his brother manage the business, both Alberto and Alonzo were interested in exploring new opportunities to complement what they were doing.  

Jamie shared the opportunity to intern with evo through SOS. “We knew if it was with SOS and recommended from Jamie, it was going to be good,” says Alonzo. 

The internship with evo is a component of SOS’ long-term partnership and a key branch of our new alumni network, Continuing the Circle. Leveraging our resources, we recognized the potential to create continued opportunities for our alumni to grow, build relationships, and feel successful—well after they graduate from our programs.

Through our long-standing partnership with evo, we’re able to provide SOS alumni with opportunities and insights into potential career paths. As youth explore their next steps after high school—evo is dedicated to seeing our participants succeed, while taking meaningful action to change the face of the industry and diversify their teams. 

“Alonzo and Alberto both showed a passionate willingness to learn as well as a continuous willingness to help regardless of the tasks required,” shares Chris Lovely, evo Denver Store Manager. “They often stepped up to help out with the increased store traffic as the winter season kicked into high gear.”

The evo internship is an extension of the positive mentorship and supportive community that is so core to SOS. This important connection strengthens our alumni’s social capital, expands their network, and fosters their personal and professional development.

“evo has their own 8 core values and they actually align really perfectly with SOS’ 6 core values,” says Alonzo. “You can take those values into any job. Having a foundation of values in your life will ultimately help you as an adult.”

While Alonzo and Alberto were introduced to snowboarding through their years with SOS, the internship with evo would provide an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the industry from a new angle. 

 “I had never worked retail before,” shares Alberto. “Being the shy person I am, the internship got me out of my comfort zone, asking people if they need help, striking up conversations about their day, finding ways to engage customers. The communications and teamwork I learned, those interactions helping people at the store, they made me feel more confident. I wanted to get myself more out there. I wanted to see if this internship would help me grow.”

Alberto rotated between the warehouse and sales floor. For him, the internship emphasized the importance of discipline, integrity, and humility (SOS values) and respect, leadership, and communication (evo values).

“There’s a lot of responsibility with completing your tasks,” says Alberto. “It fits into the collaboration and teamwork at evo. If you don’t complete your tasks, other people may not be able to complete theirs. Say, if you’re making boxes for shipping, you need to make sure you’re doing it correctly and on time, so the person shipping out the items has the boxes set and ready to do their job. We get to see how all the pieces fit together to be successful.”

While Alberto was on the retail side, Alonzo helped out in the service shop—working alongside the service techs to hand wax skis and snowboards, calibrate bindings, and sharpen edges. 

“When we were presented this opportunity, I wanted to learn more about snowboarding,” shares Alonzo. “More of the behind-the-scenes mechanics and technical side of what it really takes to get a snowboard up to the mountain and be able to enjoy it.” 

evo strongly encourages open communication among the team, so Alberto and Alonzo didn’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help.  

“Everyone there is just like SOS—very welcoming, very caring,” says Alonzo. “They don’t put you down because you might not know something. They’re willing to teach you and share that knowledge with you, and also learn from what you have to bring to the table. That’s the really cool thing, everyone there is very willing to help out.” 

Chris reinforces the growth he witnessed in Alberto and Alonzo. 

“Alberto grew more comfortable in his customer service skills, learning to approach customers and gain an intuition for store needs,” shares Chris. “Alonzo has developed into a great self-starter and is able to insert himself wherever assistance is needed in a busy day. I’m also happy to say these paths of growth were recognized and established from each individual intern.”

Alonzo and Alberto assumed snowboarding would always be out of reach—only for the privileged due to cost and access. Through SOS, they were able to grow and evolve with the sport. Now, through our partnership with evo, they’re coming full circle to help others in their community access snowboarding safely and comfortably.

“evo supported us as people of color and the customers were glad to see more diversity in the industry,” shares Alberto. “We were two of the three or four staff members who spoke Spanish, which certainly came in handy, especially on the customer service side. The store gets a lot of people from Argentina and Spain who work at the resorts. It was gratifying knowing that I was able to help translate and help people understand the sport and technology.” 

Now that their internship is complete, Alberto and Alonzo have joined the team at evo in a longer-term capacity, diving deeper into the roles they pursued during their internship.

“When I returned from the military, my social circle was mostly just my family, my brother and my son,” shares Alonzo. “Being at evo, being a part of this community at the store, where everyone accepted you no matter what your background was, it was one of the things that made me want to stay there longer. I’m excited to expand my knowledge, get involved with more outdoor sports, and continue to improve the skills I’ve learned at the internship.”

Alonzo is working at the store’s service shop, waxing and tuning skis and snowboards, and adding bikes to the lineup to enhance his skills. Alberto is working as a soft goods sales associate and assists in the warehouse receiving and shipping product orders.  

“I want to be someone that people look up to and say, ‘hey, he didn’t take a conventional path to be successful,’” shares Alberto. “That’s what I want my nephew to know, you can be free in what you want to do. If you want to pursue a career in technology, great. If you want to be a mechanic, great. If you feel strongly about something, follow it. Everyone has their own strengths and you can carve your own path.”

 For now, that path is charging ahead in the outdoor industry with our purpose-led partner, evo, while also saving time for their family business. With a strong foundation and core values, we’re excited to see what Alberto and Alonzo are able to achieve along the way.

Summer Career Development Pipeline Program

evo is one of five SOS corporate partners we’re working with this summer to launch a career development pipeline program in Denver, CO. This new pilot program provides the opportunity for SOS participants to develop their career-readiness skills through an 8-week intensive curriculum and formal paid job placement with our key partners. Mirroring our SOS curriculum of strengthening critical life skills, the program offers intentional support that fosters continued skill development and prepares our participants for meaningful career opportunities. 

We thank evo for their deep commitment to and investment in the long-term success of our youth! When we join forces around a singular purpose—to empower our youth with the skills and resources to thrive—our impact is powerful.