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, May 7, 2013

How the BRAG Dream Team Started and Grew

Anyone who knows much about the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) knows Jerry Colley.  For many years Jerry was the BRAG Ride Director; currently he is the CEO of BRAG.  Jerry envisioned a BRAG program for underserved youth, giving young people a cycling experience that their circumstances normally would not allow.  In my last post I explained how Atiba Mbiwan got involved with mentoring and coaching the Dream Team. Today Coach Atiba tells how Jerry's vision became reality:

The BRAG Dream Team started in 1994 as an Atlanta Public Schools cycling team.  Originally, it was restricted to middle school students who trained for the annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia in June, but this model has evolved into a year-round cycling program for middle and high school age youth across the state of Georgia.

In 2011 the Dublin Dream Team came into being when six OCMA (Oconee Community Mentoring Association) youth participated in the St. Patrick’s Day Century Ride in Dublin.  Their Coach, Chris Johnson, has helped the OCMA youth get around the state for cycling rides, ranging from the Brownwood Bike Rally in Atlanta (where the Dublin youth won several cycling awards) to BRAG (where a Dublin youth leader named Larry completed a century at the age of 12!).

In 2012 the Milledgeville Dream Team was formed by BRAG veterans – Doug Keith and Joe Windish – who have partnered with staff from the area universities, cyclists from the local bike club, and owners of the local bike shop.  After completing the April Fools Ride and the BRAG Spring Tune Up, the Milledgeville Dream Team is preparing to participate in the 2013 BRAG adventure.

The Madison Dream Team expressed interest in the spring of 2012.  They had one training ride at Hard Labor Creek State Park, led by veteran Dream Team Coaches and alumni.  They are just getting established in 2013 in a partnership with the Madison Boys & Girls Club, thanks to the Bryans Foundation.

The growth of the Dream Team has been terrific, but they can use more support.  With tougher economic times, the BRAG organization is not able to provide as much funding for the Dream Team as it once did.  Please consider a donation to the Dream Team (send a check to BRAG at PO Box 871111, Stone Mountain, GA 30087-0028; note on your check that it is for the Dream Team). Thank you for helping provide a positive focus and source of encouragement to young people who can really use it.

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