11 April 2011

A Very Good Cause

This is the time of year when many of us want to pack up and leave Maine. As much as I love it here, the snow and slush, the grey skies, and the continuing wet, cold days, are sometimes just hard to take. But enough about me!

One special young woman has decided to leave Maine, but not in the way you might think. And only temporarily. And for a very good cause.

Kate Weigel, a young gal from Maine who is studying art at NYU, is taking part in Bike & Build, which will take her on a bicycle trip from Maine to California. Bike & Build organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing.

Here is an excerpt from a letter I received about a month ago from Kate (yes, I promised her I would post this much sooner and I apologize, Kate!):

I am a graduate of Brewer High School, president of the class of 2010 and I currently attend New York University majoring in Studio Art. This summer I will be biking from Maine to Santa Barbara, CA to raise awareness and funds for affordable housing causes. I will be leaving from Portland with about 35 other 18-24 year olds on June 18th and the trip will be 10 weeks long. Occasionally, we will stop to work on affordable housing sites.

I found out about the program from my RA, who did it last summer. He has been giving me guidance all along. I found out that I was accepted to the trip in November and I jumped up and down and screamed I was so excited. I wanted to do something really amazing this summer, better than just an internship. I wanted to do something that would really help people and I wanted to have an adventure.

I have never really been an avid biker, but I used to bike a lot with my family when I was younger. My mom used to participate in races a lot and a few years ago, my dad biked from Florida to Maine, with help from my stepmom, to support children's charities. That was part of the inspiration, but my trip will be a little over twice as far. A larger part of my decision to go was my years of participation in Brewer High School's Alternative Spring Break program, a group that went down to Portland to work with Habitat during April Vacation. That changed my life and made me want to do more.

In preparation for the trip, I have begun training on stationary bikes at NYU's gym. This spring I will be volunteering at a local Habitat for Humanity location. I WILL ALSO HAVE TO RAISE 4,000 DOLLARS by the start of the trip.

This is where YOU come in...

Friends, Kate needs our help. Here is this wonderful young gal biking - yes BICYCLING - from Maine to California. I have driven that route - twice - and I can't imagine biking it. At all. And she isn't just doing this for fun (I mean really, how much fun could it be after about... Connecticut?), rather, she is doing this to help people.

Donations can be made at Bike and Build by choosing Kate's name from the drop down menu. Or just click on this link:


The option you choose will look like this:

Weigel, Kate (ME2SB)

Here is the link where you can Kate's Bike and Build bio, as well as all the other riders; she's listed under the "Maine to Santa Barbara" Section: Kate's Bike and Build Bio

Here is a link to an article about Kate in the Bangor Daily News from a couple of years back: Girls State - Kate Weigel

Kate has also started a blog to raise money selling prints of some of her artwork (isn't this gal just so neat?!): Art by Kate

Kate told me she is so excited about this trip because she gets to help people in a solid concrete way. The homes that she will help build with her own hands are going to go to real families; nothing could be less abstract. Lastly, Kate says, "It is an amazing feeling to know that I can make a real world impact, and I hope that donors feel the same in that they are contributing to something physical and substantial. Needless to say, I can't wait!"

Won't you help this young gal from Maine as she sets out to help others?

Good Luck, Kate!

Copyright © 2011 - Paulla Estes

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