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Just a 22 year old girl from Raleigh, NC. I graduated in December from NC State University with a degree in Communications. I’d rather be outside than inside, my radio is always set on a country station, and I make it a habit to carry my hammock with me wherever I go. I love Jesus, my family, my friends, Raleigh, the smell of fresh, cut grass, sunrises, coffee, mountains, living and learning, sunsets, fruit, the beach, and country music. People describe me as low maintenance and sometimes I’m not sure whether to take that as an insult or a compliment. I had actually heard about Bike&Build from one of the guys who was involved in Habitat for Humanity at NC State. He mentioned it briefly when we were talking about our summer plans. I thought it was awesome that he was doing that and then I thought I could never bike across the country like that. Two years later, I was working out with my friend Eduardo and he was saying that he was going to apply for Bike&Build this summer. When I looked at the website and what this organization was all about, I couldn’t think of any other way to spend the next eight months of my life. I was at a point where I had no direction, but having a chance to pedal across America for affordable housing was incredibly exciting to me.
So why raise money for affordable housing? I will be honest; I am not very familiar with all the laws and details that are bound up in the affordable housing issue. I know that I will have the opportunity to learn the issues that surround affordable housing in preparation for biking across the US. But what I have experienced is witnessing firsthand what the effect of not having affordable housing (or any housing) can have on a family. I grew up in a nice home in the suburbs of Raleigh with everything I ever needed. It wasn’t until college that I had spent time in Southeast Raleigh and witnessed poverty. The local church that I attend is actively involved in this area and since March of last year, I have been learning how to better live among those who have very little. At a local elementary school in SE Raleigh, there are 60 homeless children. In the apartment complex across the street from that same school, there is a single mom raising two girls in a one bedroom apartment. This is just one school on one street—I know there are hundreds of stories like these within blocks of each other. This summer I'll be pedaling for them.
Having the opportunity to bike across the US with B&B gives me butterflies. This is an opportunity to spend 81 days pedaling on the open road, meeting 30 other riders from all over, building houses, and spending time getting to know different communities across the nation. That’s why I’m excited. I’m not a cyclist, but what better way to gain experience than biking across the country? This summer is not random, but just a part of the next chapter. At the beginning of this past semester, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. What I learned is that I wanted to spend the rest of my days falling deeper in the love with the Lord and in response loving other people with the love He first loved me with. So with all that said, I'm ready for the view of this beautiful country from a bicycle seat, sore legs, PB&J, garden hose showers, nights under the stars, and livng and growing with thirty other riders along the way. West coast here we come!
"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: 'to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27
|Ashley has currently raised $4,000.|
That's 100% of her $4,000 fundraising goal.