San Gabriel River Trail

Clarey and I spent about one hour on the beautiful SGRT this afternoon. I’ve made it my goal to ride this trail all the way to Long Beach and back (~80 miles) before the break is over. Clarey–thanks for the awesome ride, and the donation to B&B!

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True Gifts

Especially during the Christmas season, we encounter a lot of lights, buzz, and hubbub. Clarey and I sat on a bench overlooking the neighborhood this morning at the crack of dawn. I thought about all the perfectly wrapped presents that would soon be torn open by eager hands. The oohs and ahhs, screams and hollers, laughs and cries,  responding to shiny new things. It’s loud, bright, and crazy.

I won’t lie; I love the crazy lights and the obnoxious music. I even love the short-lived holiday spirit. And though my parents have never wrapped a gift, today I’m reminded that I am lucky to be surrounded by the greatest gifts of all: a stable home and family, wonderful friends, and a roof over my head. These are presents I receive everyday. Today, I am all the more grateful.

PS: Thank you to Victoria and Melody for the best Christmas surprise–donations to B&B!

TMTOWTDI

There’s more than one way to do it. This is a complex issue, and there are many avenues you can take that will bring positive results to the affordable housing landscape. Choose one, choose all. Here are just some ways you can help to alleviate the affordable housing problem today:

1. Check out Habitat for Humanity’s website. Find a local building site. Pick up a hammer. Join the fun.

2. Learn and think about the issue. What factors are causing housing instability and homelessness? What are the consequences? How is lack of affordable housing affecting and being affected by the health, financial stability, educational prospects, and social justice of Americans? Discuss amongst friends, family, and strangers you meet on the bus.

3. Support and follow me and my teammates on this journey. You’ll be helping a family live the American Dream. Plus, you’ll get my infinite love and respect, along with cool postcards and letters from the road.

WHY?

Why am I doing this? And why should you care?

THE PROBLEM: Poverty housing and homelessness are affecting our local, national, and global communities.  In the United States, almost 50 million people are living in poverty.  According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the average hourly wage among renters is $14.32. The housing wage is $18.79, and the gap is growing. This means affordable housing for low income renters is becoming increasingly out of reach.

THE FUNDS RAISED: Your donation will go towards affordable housing projects like the 13 local projects we will have the opportunity to work with during this trip. These contributions become grants for affordable housing groups and pay for necessary building supplies. Thank you for donating and allowing our team to make a meaningful impact on the lives of these American families.

THE ADVOCACY: Along the P2C route, we will be stopping in local communities to give presentations and bike safety classes. You can spread awareness too! Take a look at some awesome resources here:

National Coalition for the Homeless: how poverty is being measured, why that matters, and what we can do to eradicate homelessness in America.

Habitat Milestones: learn about how Habitat for Humanity is facing the affordable housing problem, providing bold solutions, and breaking the cycle of poverty.

UN Habitat: Bike and Build focuses on local advocacy, but this is a global issue!

Habitat Stories: enough with all the numbers and stats! See how affordable housing groups are directly impacting the lives of families in need from a micro level.

Understand that decent, stable housing provides more than just a roof over someone’s head. It brings stability and security to a family, a sense of pride to its owners, improved health to its occupants, and greater educational/economic prospects to its residents.

THE SERVICE: This is where things get exciting. We are not only going to learn about, discuss, and present on, the affordable housing issue. We will actually get to pick up our hammers and power tools to build the homes that will strengthen families and communities across America.

THE THRILL: I have always wanted to experience America’s beautiful terrain behind handlebars. I am extremely anxious and excited for this adventure. My parents think I’m crazy. I think they might be right.

Thanks for reading my first blog post. Hope to keep these coming over the next 9 months!

-Michelle