Coastal Post Online


July 2002

Drake High Grads Reach For New Heights

Ami Ehrlich and Beth Mertz graduated from Sir Francis Drake High School in 1990. Now, more than 10 years later, they are back in the Bay Area and are about to embark on an adventure that is both daring and meaningful. They are part of Women with Altitude, a group of women that will climb three high altitude peaks in the Bolivian Andes this July as an example of hope and strength to women everywhere that live each day in fear of domestic violence.

Ami Ehrlich was born in Larkspur and raised in West Marin, where her family still lives. She attended Drake High School, where she was the editor of the Jolly Roger and a member of the student council for four years. She has recently returned to the Bay Area after spending two years in the Peace Corps in Namibia, Southern Africa. "This project, from the initial fundraising to the final expedition, is a way for me to show through concrete action my commitment to preventing violence against women and their families."

Beth moved to San Anselmo in 3rd grade and attended Wade Thomas elementary school, Red Hill & White Hill middle schools, and Drake High School, where she played basketball, softball and was on the diving team. She left the Bay Area for 6 years to attend college and graduate school. She returned to San Francisco in 1997 and has worked for University of California, San Francisco since then, conducting health services research. "This expedition is a huge personal challenge for me, pushing my limits in many ways. However the rewards of being able to do what I love for a cause I deeply believe in are well worth the sacrifices I am making."

On July 12th, Ami and Beth will set out with five other Bay Area women as a team called Women With Altitude to climb three peaks in the Bolivian Andes to raise awareness and resources to prevent domestic violence before it begins.

Women With Altitude is not a group of highly renowned athletes, or world-class mountaineers. This is a group of everyday women that decided they were determined to do something extraordinary to demonstrate that women can and will redefine their own limits given the needed knowledge, strength and independence.

"Our mission is to make a pronouncement about ordinary women doing extraordinary things. We seek add a focus on strength and women's athleticism to the campaign to fight domestic violence. By combining this expedition with a large-scale fundraising and publicity campaign, we hope our efforts will serve as a means to move away from the idea of women as victims towards seeing all women as sources of strength. Through example, the image we seek to offer the world is one of women at the top of their mountains, smiling and happy with pride and success.

Collaboration and partnerships are critical to our campaign. Already allied with the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the Global Fund for Women, we are very excited to announce that our recent supporters include: Clif Bar; Metolius; The North Face; Crazy Creek; and Patagonia! Together, we hope to ensure that women need not live each day in fear of violence.

We still need a great deal of support to make this dream a reality, and we ask individuals, small businesses and large, to join our campaign by helping us raise resources and help us spread the word."

To donate or for more information*:

/ [email protected] / 415.561.1412

*Members of the press, or PR representatives, please contact: Amber Nystrom, 415.302.7624



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