Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go - Like Namibia!

Each month this year, I am highlighting one of 12 charities in A Year of Centuries.  However, if an opportunity arises to support one of my charities sometime other than its designated month, of course I’ll take it.  After all, these deserving groups welcome help anytime!  Also, sometimes it makes sense to combine efforts on behalf of more than one charity at a time, giving each more leverage than it might have alone.  Just such an opportunity came up today here in Jasper County with a special community-wide event called Seuss on the Loose.  Seuss on the Loose was an event to raise money and awareness for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy (FFCL), which is my September charity.  A Year of Centuries provided a sponsor booth at this event.  The great thing is that it allowed me to volunteer on behalf of Bicycles for Humanity (B4H - my March charity) as well as FFCL.

FFCL will provide free books, one per month, from birth through age five to any child in Georgia.  Yes, that’s 60 total books!  Because reading is fundamental to education, these books can make a huge difference in low-income households, which often do not have a single age-appropriate book for young children.  For just $28 FFCL can provide books to a child for a whole year.  FFCL in Jasper County organized Seuss on the Loose in conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2, to raise money for books for our local children.  Seuss on the Loose included sponsor booths with activities connected to specific Dr. Seuss books.  I requested Oh, The Places You’ll Go as my Dr. Seuss book – what better tie-in to A Year of Centuries and B4H!

Originally, Seuss on the Loose was to be an outdoor event that included a walk-a-thon.  However, with high temperatures today only in the upper 40s, everything was moved inside to the Jasper County High School cafeteria.  The venue change went off without a hitch.  We sponsors set up our booths, donned costumes, decorated, and had fun incorporating our Dr. Seuss books.  This was right up my alley!  I wore my Bike Tech cycling kit and brought my road bike.

To illustrate the many places I have taken a bicycle trip, I printed a large map of the United States, mounted it on cardboard, and attached photographs from some of the states I have visited via bicycle.

One young boy was looking at all of these pictures and said, "I wish I could go to all of those places."  I said, "You can!  Make that your goal, and as you get older, you can visit all of these places."  I was so sincere, and I hope that he will remember our brief conversation and really work toward his dreams.

For my booth activity, children got to "travel around the world."  I borrowed a children’s activity map of the world from my friend Debby.  It had Velcro stick-on pieces, including names of continents, countries, and bodies of water as well as pictures of animals.  Using clues, the children placed a toucan on Costa Rica and the word “Italy” on Italy to show the two foreign countries I have bicycled in.  Most significant, however, was the bicycle that I had them place on Namibia, which allowed me to introduce them to the important work of Bicycles for Humanity.

To give the children a feel for the impact of a B4H bicycle, I had a one-gallon jug of water that the child could lift.  That was pretty heavy!  Then, I explained that people in Namibia don’t have running water, and they have to carry water to their houses from sometimes several miles away.  Also, they carry much more water than just one gallon on each trip.  A bicycle makes getting water a lot easier.

Each booth activity was to have a prize, and so I gave each child a banana to refuel after our trip around the world.  I found that the bananas were also a good way to encourage children to visit my booth; it doesn't matter how young or old you are, everyone loves talking on the banana phone!

I'm guessing that all the kids had fun because I sure did! I made a point to have my picture taken with all of the critters on site:

The Cat in the Hat

The Ferst Foundation frog mascot

Smokey Bear

Fire Prevention Dog

I also had a photo opp with my friend Linda:

My booth was next to the Jasper County High School knitting club, and they graciously agreed to make a Lorax mustache for me:

The best thing of all about the day, though, was a great connection I made that will help B4H.  I saw a man named Bruce that I had met several years ago through the Jasper County Leadership Program.  I told him about B4H's work to collect unwanted bicycles for Namibia.  It turns out that Bruce is the Housing Facilities Director at Kennesaw State University, and he has about 80 bicycles, mostly in very good condition, that he is trying to get rid of.  Wow!  He and I were both thrilled.

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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