If you’re a little wary of heights, you probably don’t want to glance behind you before the person holding your harness tells you to straighten your legs and lean your body over the side of the 15-story building you’re standing on. “Over the Edge” is not for the faint of heart, but it is for a great Alaska nonprofit — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska.


My legs started to shake and my palms were sweaty inside my worker’s gloves as I tried not to act like I was just a touch nervous to rappel down the building. Ok, I was more than just a little shaky, my heart was racing and I was terrified to look 150 feet below me to where the spectators looked more like ants than people. Timidly, I stretched my legs out like I’d been instructed to before my safety instructor can look at me with a raised eyebrow and remind me straight means in a line, not bent.


I took a deep breath, and a leap of faith.


“The first step off the building is the hardest. After that everyone is pretty excited and doesn’t have any trouble,” Levi Kallio of Over the Edge explains to every nervous participant.


He’s spot on. Once I finally trusted my body, my harness, the safety instructors on the bottom and at the top of my rope, and the two very large clips keeping me suspended in the air, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the ride. Except for the tree I lowered myself into and a few spin moves that exposed my lurching stomach to the beautiful view from an exposed height, I made it down without incident.


“It’s such a great Alaska experience!” said Taber Rehbaum, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Alaska. “There’s so many people that really enjoy adventures and it’s something we’ve never tried before.”


Rehbaum said Over the Edge not only resonates with participants, but her organization as well. There are challenges involved in trusting their bodies to lean over a 15-story building, like the challenges some of her kids face walking through life without a mentor.


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska hopes to raise $80,000 from “Over the Edge.” The special events company has helped nonprofits raise more than $30 million over the last decade. It was literally, a leap of faith. Alaska rappellers are trusting the company to provide a safe and thrilling experience, just like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska is hoping the trust behind their one-on-one relationships will blossom into a future of unlimited potential. The more money the organization makes, the more matches they can make.


“All the money we raise stays right here in Alaska to help us match more kids who are facing adversity of one kind or another,” she explained.


Up to 92 people will be able to participate on Saturday, July 16. For more information or to donate, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska website.