I am riding agan in this year’s Bike for Boys & Girls Club event. You can sponsor me here: http://www.bike4bgc.com/riders/view/?id=9. This event is near and dear to me because of my own personal experience.
I consider myself to be a very fortunate person. I worked hard to finish college and follow my career, I have met the love of my life, and I have made many great friends. I believe I am one of those lucky ones that had a great family. Actually, I think about where I came from every so often and reflect on how fortunate many of my friends are.
I grew up in an area of Milwaukee that went from a fun place to live to a den of drugs, gang fights, and prostitution happening right in our backyards (sometimes literally). We were the victims of theft and vandalism: on at least two occassions, someone threw our charcoal grill through our kitchen window (the second time, my mother was in the kitchen). On many summer nights, I heard sirens as I tried to get to sleep. Although I was able to avoid getting into the bad stuff, I saw some of my friends fall into some pretty tough situations. I am happy to say, though, that I think most of them came through alright.
So that’s why I ride every year in the Bike for Boys & Girls Club ride. Admittedly, Madison does not have as many problems as many large cities, but we have our share of rough areas. Boys & Girls Club of Dane County helps fill in that need and gives them hope and an opportunity at a great future. Some of these kids are not as fortunate as my friends and me. We had strong families. Some of these children come from single-parent homes where mom or dad work two, three, even four jobs just to make rent. My friends were also a support group; my friends and I grew up together and really trusted and believed in each other. Some kids today move around and never learn what true friends are or fall in with street gangs.
Boys & Girls Club gives these kids the support that they need to succeed, whether its academic support, a way to express themselves through art or music, or just a safe place to stay. The community support to keep the facilities open and to make them dynamic and welcoming safe havens is awesome.
As I write this, we are pushing to hit our biggest goal of all time: $350,000. Although there is a tremendous amount of community support, but we can do more. The CEO, Michael Johnson, is on top of a BratFest truck and has vowed not to come down until we hit our goal. Michael is a Boys & Girls Club success story himself. Having grown up in Cabrini Green in Chicago, he is only one of four men in his graduating high school class that are still alive. He owes his success to the Boys & Girls Club. The thing I like about Michael is that he has enthusiasm, energy, and willpower. And he always has a smile on his face, even on top of a truck in 90-degree heat.
I would really appreciate it if you sponsored me for riding in this great cause. I am collecting donations through August 31, 2013. Here again is that link to my donation page: http://www.bike4bgc.com/riders/view/?id=9. Every little bit helps.