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, May 4, 2013

Coach Atiba

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Atiba Mbiwan, the Dream Team Coach.  He has been dedicated for many years to the young people on the Dream Team.  I enjoyed learning his story about how he came to be involved with the Dream Team, and so I wanted to share it here.  It was originally published on the Dream Team page of the BRAG website ( in March of 2009.  Thank you for all you do, Coach Atiba!


A seed was planted in 1992 when my friend and flight attendant, Adrienne, shared a Delta magazine article that described BRAG.  After reading it and thinking about my cross state bike rides in Rhode Island and New England in the 1980s, I bragged – “I can do this...if I can find the time off!

In 1995 I was in North Carolina trying to desperately complete a high ropes course organized by Outward Bound when the instructor told me, "You have reached the end of this course and now you must make a Big Goal, then jump off this platform and swing your way back down to the ground."

The moment of reckoning had arrived – “This is the year I will do BRAG!"

This promise did not mention anything about caring for kids, but soon after registering for BRAG my friend and colleague, Jose, asked me, “Do you want to be a mentor for this Dream Team group that we take on BRAG?”  Since I had already registered, I said I’m committed to going so if you need an extra hand just call me.  At first, he told me that they had enough mentors, but two weeks before BRAG I received a distress call: “We need you because one of the teachers can’t ride.”  On that BRAG ride from Rome to Augusta, I met Harold Head, Don Doran, and Jeff Cramer, the co-founders of the Dream Team who helped Jerry Colley implement his dream of a BRAG program for underserved youth.

In the past fourteen years, I have traveled from a last minute sub to dedicated mentor to Dream Team Coordinator to Dream Team Coach…and led over 125 teenagers on BRAG, Bike South 2000, and RAGBRAI with the help of some dedicated adults, like Kevin, Bruce, Phyllis, and Charles, and the list goes on.

Without the luxury of dedicated staff to track Dream Team alumni, we have been blessed to cross paths with our former team members, and they are proof that it works.

The perseverance, self-discovery, and sense of accomplishment on BRAG have helped many young people survive middle school, thrive in high school, and go off to college.

Let's keep the Dream Team alive so that dreams can come true again and again and again!

-Coach Atiba-

Atiba Mbiwan is a professional in the philanthropy field (Associate Director of The Zeist Foundation) when he is not volunteering for BRAG.

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