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, September 7, 2013

Mike on a Bike in a Forest

What a great day of bicycles and books, two of my favorite things!  I did a morning ride, which was made even more enjoyable by my husband Robert's companionship.  On the way back into town, we stopped at The Vanilla Bean, our local coffee shop.  Lo and behold, in walked Robert's cycling teammate Eddie with his daughter Anna!  That was a really nice surprise.  They were on their way through town on the way to a football game (some school in Athens apparently was playing today), and they stopped to get a pie at our farmers market and some coffee from the Vanilla Bean.  After visiting a while with Eddie, Anna, and a few local friends, I headed home to swap out my road bike for Frankenbike, my super cool cyclocross bike.  Frankenbike is so named because Robert built it for me using a generic frame and spare parts he had lying around.  He made it even better by adding the Frankenbike lettering (see below) as a birthday present to me a few years ago.

I specifically wanted Frankenbike for a special activity at my local library.  I read a children's book aloud to promote the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.  As I've written in previous posts, I'm making a particular effort to do some hands-on activities during A Year of Centuries.  Reading to children was so fun and easy!  Also, I had the perfect book: Mike on a Bike in a Forest by Michael Hickey:

I learned of this book from my friend Bruce Dickman, who posts everything bicycle on Facebook.  Several months ago he mentioned Mike on a Bike in a Forest, and it sounded like a good one for my personal library.  I'm always on the lookout for interesting additions - even children's books!

I set up my reading corner in the library:

Six children joined me for an adventure.  I knew most of them, but I still was a little anxious because I'm not around little kids much.  I decided to take a cue from an expert: Mr. Rogers.  When I first sat down with the children, I changed shoes (cycling shoes to street shoes).  I had nothing to worry about, though.  I simply talked to the children like I would anyone else and shared my enthusiasm for cycling and reading with them.  Of course Frankenbike caught their attention.  After telling them about how much fun I have riding my bicycle, I explained to them that even if they don't have a bicycle, they can go on the best kind of adventure of all by reading a book.

We were ready to embark on our journey, but first we had to put on our helmets.  (Mine was real, and theirs were pretend.)  Then I read them Mike's story about riding his bicycle with his parents up a mountain trail, seeing trout swimming in a stream, feeling the cool wind on his face, and listening to the forest sounds.

I enjoyed the reading very much.  The children must have, too.  Afterwards, one of the little girls selected another book from the library shelf, Follow that Fish by Joanne Oppenheim, and asked me to read it to her.

Expect adventure.

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