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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spinning with B4H

My husband Robert is on an amateur bicycle racing team, and so he specifically trains for racing throughout the year.  In the wintertime, he trains outdoors as much as possible, but sometimes when the weather is uncooperative, he rides indoors on a trainer.  (Me, too!)  You attach your back wheel to the trainer, making a stationary bicycle.  He has computer programs to simulate different terrain.  Of course it’s not nearly as enjoyable as riding outside, but it’s an acceptable alternative if you want to stick to your training schedule.

A few winters ago Robert got bored with riding for hours at a time on his trainer in our basement.  So, he started a spin class in our town of Monticello, primarily to make his indoor training more fun and social.  He purchased 11 spin bikes and put them in the break room at our Jordan Engineering building.  Thus, jSpin was begun!

jSpin classes have been a big hit in our community from the beginning.  Robert teaches an interval training class on Monday evenings.  Two other people teach, one on Wednesday evenings and one on Thursday evenings.  Each instructor has a slightly different style, but all provide a great workout.  Classes are offered on Tuesday evenings, too, but there is not an instructor then.  Instead, Robert puts together a spin show of music videos, and class participants can ride at whatever level of intensity they choose while they watch.

As March approached, I began to think about the various ways I might promote Bicycles for Humanity (B4H).  As I described in a previous post, I found out about B4H through a tweet by cycling announcer Paul Sherwen.  I went to the B4H website and watched a video entitled “The Karamoja Bicycle Initiative,” in which he and B4H founder Pat Montani give an extremely informative overview of B4H’s work in Africa.  This video was an important part of my decision to include B4H as one of my charities in A Year of Centuries.  Getting to actually see how bicycles make it easier for people to transport water, loads of firewood, or just about anything makes so much more of an impression than just hearing or reading about it.  Hmmm…this would be a great video to include with a Tuesday jSpin class!

Usually, I only get to go to Monday jSpin classes because they start later than the others, and I have to commute home from work.  However, yesterday I had to work late and couldn’t get home in time for spin.  Therefore, I left work a little early today for jSpin.  I was excited to get to be there for the B4H video; things really do tend to work out for the best!

Why not check out "The Karamoja Bicycle Initiative" for yourself?

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