Check out my blog for updates before and during my experience: https://travelinggrits.wordpress.com/
Hey there! My name is Christina, and I am from Lexington, SC. I'm a Carolina girl all the way - I am graduating with dual master's degrees in Public Health and City and Regional Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2016, and I am a University of South Carolina undergraduate alumna as well.
Bike & Build. Each of these components of the experience resonates deeply with me, and I want to share why. First, biking has been a recent and important passion for me. Growing up, I never biked outside my neighborhood because the nearest roads only supported vehicle traffic. When I moved to a bike-friendly community for graduate school, I became empowered to take alternative modes of travel, and eventually this active lifestyle became a part of my identity and even part of my graduate studies with focus areas in Health Behavior and Transportation. I do research and blog for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to support children walking and biking to school, and I also worked for the San Francisco Department of Public Health to support on Vision Zero, a road traffic safety initiative working toward zero traffic deaths by 2024. I have found my calling in working to create healthy communities that support active living, and I am an advocate for building places where people of all ages can choose to bike and walk safely. I've contributed to the research that supports broad policy and systems change, but I want to engage in "boots on the ground" advocacy in community contexts through Bike & Build.
Community engagement and service learning is a core value for me. And if I connect the dots, it all comes back to building. One of my earliest memorable service experiences and my first encounter with the affordable housing cause was in high school pounding nails for Habitat for Humanity during a trip with my church youth group. This and other civic engagement experiences inspired me be a student leader in the Carolina Service Council, a student service organization at USC. Through this group I participated in a spring break service trip in Detroit, where we working with Motor City Blight Busters to support neighborhood revitalization through demolition and repair driven by community members. I later drew upon these experiences to mentor students as a graduate assistant for APPLES Alternative Breaks at UNC. Although it has been immensely rewarding to build the capacity of other students to carry out leadership roles in their own service programs through my graduate assistant position, I have been yearning to engage in more direct service and immerse in the experience once again myself.
Why do we do it? Could we simply raise the money for housing organizations, and not take the road trip and build houses ourselves? It's not just about the money donated or the direct service, but also about becoming advocates. We are teaching others who are not familiar with the cause through our commitment and our testimonials in every community we meet. However, through this journey we are learning just as much as we share. It's not just about the impact we have within this summer, but the lifelong impact we will have as we continue to be informed, active citizens for affordable housing after returning to our hometowns across the country.
On my Bike & Build journey, I will ride in tribute to the communities in my home state that are rebuilding after the massive flooding from Hurricane Joaquin in fall 2015. I will ride in support of safe streets in cities big and small. I will ride for the opportunity to explore and connect with the young and old. I am excited about seeing more of our nation's beautiful towns and countryside. I will bring enthusiasm, passion, and spunk to cheer on my fellow riders and leave positive impressions on the communities where we work. I will come with an open mind and leave with renewed perspective. I will reach new heights. I will bike. I will build.
Thank you in advance for any support, large or small, you can provide to pave the way for my journey. I'm pledging to raise $3000 for the cause. Can you help me cross the finish line?
Can you give me some "fuel" to go the distance for $1/mile?
Can you sponsor one of the 6 states I'll travel through for $150? Choose your state and I'll make sure to send a postcard!
For $500, you can get the honorable "Holy Spokes!" award, and I'll send a postcard from each one and a surprise souvenir!
All donations are tax deductible. We distribute the proceeds through a competitive grant application process decided by the rider teams, and I will also get to distribute some funds to a beneficiary of my choice.
Questions? Comments? Encouragement? Please don't hesitate to give me a shout!
Wow. I'm blown away by each and every person who has contributed to my journey. THANK YOU.
Special thanks to my state sponsors!
Maine: the Sease family
Massachusetts: the Henricks family
Connecticut: the Wingard family
New York: the Morelli family
Thanks to the Moye family, the Buells, and the Galardis for their very generous support!
|Christina has currently raised $3,133.|
That's 104% of her $3,015 fundraising goal.