Bikes for the World

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Impact! They Make One

Stone Ridge Social Action BfW Crew
Our very own Stone Ridge for Social Action crew was recently nominated for Montgomery County's Youth Service Award. We know because WE nominated them. The Stone Ridge crew is: Lisa Adam, Allison Arinaga, Ellie Blakeslee, Allie Delgado, Deborah O'Connell, Andie Segura, and advisor Ken Woodard. They didn't win, but we still think they're tops. We bring you excerpts from the nomination letter for a look into why:
Stone Ridge Sacred Heart School of Bethesda has incorporated into their curriculum a program that transports their students' impact from the classroom to remote villages across the globe. The Social Action group meets several times a month and works with several non-profits in the county helping mentor young people and socializing with elders.

"The Social Action Mission Statement is rooted in Goal Three of Sacred Heart Education. The Social Action Program is a comprehensive service-learning program that is central to the Upper School experience. Through preparation, action, and reflection, Social Action cultivates critical consciousness of issues of justice, inculcates a life-long commitment to service, and develops students’ potential for leadership in building and maintaining just partnerships."
Bikes for the World partnered with Stone Ridge in 2011, working with two young women who found the experience to be rewarding AND fun. Because of the popularity of the program, the participants tripled this past year.

Starting last fall the girls started coming out twice a month to help load containers of 500+ bikes that will eventually end up in Africa, Central America, or the Philippines. During one such loading that was recently delivered to a Bikes for Education program in Maribojoc, Bohol, Philippines, I saw two of the girls jump up and volunteer to do the hardest job of the loading. We call this the 'third level'. After lining up two rows of bikes on top of each other, we finish the line with a final third row. The bikes on this level are 'tossed' on top of the standing bicycles and requires a certain amount of strength and finesse. They let the men hand them the bikes without so much as blinking.

Yvette and Mya at Woodlin Elementary Collection
For our younger volunteers I've seen the Bikes for the World experience change kids. They tend to like the grease and the tools and forget that what they are doing is 'work'. I've seen shy kids open up once they are taught how to use a pedal wrench. Girls jump right in once they realize it's not 'just for boys'. It's a 'doing' activity that reaches kids who are sometimes left out because they aren't 'athletic enough' or don't care for what is known as 'ball' activities. What I've seen this volunteer experience do here and overseas is give kids confidence where they once had little or none.

The importance of having this group of girls tackling this sometimes greasy job AND taking on some of the more strenuous activities opens up the door to some of our other female volunteers showing them they too, can do this. I often find young girls and even some soccer moms tentative about volunteering with us, thinking they can't do it. Once they see they can, and find out how much fun it is, they often turn out to be some of our hardest workers.
-Yvette Hess, Outreach Coordinator
This crew ranges from the budding actress to calculating engineer. Most of the girls are seniors and have already chosen colleges to move onto next fall. The Stone Ridge girls are making a difference globally and enjoy seeing the difference they are making overseas. What they may not fully realize is the impact they are having right here at home instilling confidence in other women who will continue to do this work with us even after their class graduates and moves on to college.

You can donate a bike at Stone Ridge May 5th see our website for details.

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