Thursday, October 6, 2011

Do it for the kids!

My friend, Eric Durante, and I are going to do a charity bike tour for children.  I don't know what will confuse people more; the fact that I have at least one friend or that I am doing something for anyone other than myself.  After you get over your initial confusion, I would like to explain to you what is going on here.  Because I am being serious.
Example of all around nice guys
Our Children's Center is a local Montessori school.  If you're not exactly sure what a Montessori school you can look at an explanation here.  Basically though, these schools serve preschool and kindergarten age children (2.5 to 6 years) and provide a non traditional education approach that focuses on independence and experiential learning.  I am aware that I am over simplifying and possibly misrepresenting Montessori education and for that I plead some ignorance.  Our Children's Center (OCC) is a private non-profit school and I know friends, coworkers and other community members who enroll or have enrolled their children there.  Being a private school, a tuition is required; a tuition that not all parents can afford entirely.

The OCC maintains a scholarship fund comprised mostly of donations to help offset a portion of the tuition for children who need such assistance.  Parents annually hold fundraisers for OCC and this year they are planning a group bike ride on October 16th for both adults and children.  Coincidentally, Eric and I have been planning a bike tour that is slated to begin the 15th.  We joked with the event organizers that our ride was just an extension of the preplanned routes and we still wanted to participate.  This joke quickly turned into the idea that our entire tour would be a charity ride to benefit the OCC!
Hundreds of miles of riding sans cars!
So here's the deal:  Eric and I are planning a roughly 650-700 mile ride starting in State College, heading to Pittsburgh, going down to Washington D.C., then going north through Baltimore and Lancaster until we make it home.  The route encompasses as much rail-trail as it can including the Ghost Town Trail, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the C&O Trail.  We are going to enjoy our natural surroundings, meet up with friends and generally have a terrific time.

What we are asking for:  Eric and I are seeking folks to pledge a certain amount of money per mile that we ride together to be donated to the OCC.  If you wanted to donate a penny for ever mile ridden that would come out to $7.00, a nickel would be $35.00, $100 would be $70,000 and so on.  Absolutely every cent donated will go to the OCC.  Eric and I will pay for our own rice and beans.
We know you're jealous.
Why you should donate:  Well first off, you will be directly funding children's early developmental learning.  That in and of itself is certainly reason enough.  However, Eric and I wouldn't leave it at that, would we?  We plan to update this blog every day or two throughout our week long adventure.  We will specifically write it geared for 2-6 year olds in the hope that with either teachers' or parents' assistance, students at OCC can follow our progress.  Folks who have been following this blog probably won't notice any difference since I usually write at a preschool level.  Our intent is that readers will come away with three lessons or ideas that are especially important to young children:

-embrace a physically active lifestyle
-appreciate the natural outdoors
-maintain a healthy diet

We believe that if we can not only assist raising funding for the students but also impart some fun and important lessons to children (and adults!) then we will be wildly successful.
Who needs fried chicken when you have 5 different types of quiche?
I encourage everyone to make a donation, no matter the size.  All of it will go directly to the scholarship fund for students at OCC.  If you wish to make a pledge per mile, please email me directly at tfmrotek <at> gmail <dot> com.  I will then ensure that your pledge is recorded with the fundraising coordinator at OCC.

In the back of your head, there still probably lies the nagging suspicion, "Why is Tom really doing this?".  A valid point and one that I asked myself.  First off, children should receive a proper education.  Then they can grow up, get a steady job (which is something I still try to avoid) and pay into my Social Security benefits.  Secondly, children should learn how to lead healthy lifestyles.  So in the future, they won't be putting additional burden on the Medicare system that I will be taking for all it's worth.  Third, children should appreciate the outdoors.  Once I have retired from the job I won't have and subsisting off of Social Security and Medicare, I want some trees and mountains to still exist to mindlessly putter around in!  And lastly (and most importantly), I want to impress the ladies with my big heart.  So if there are any single women out there that think bike touring is sexy and are overwhelmed by my compassion for children, you should email me too.

See... it still is all about me, isn't it?

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