Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) is thrilled to announce the kick-off to our 2013 season with the Rodman Ride for Kids, a noncompetitive 25, 50 or 100 mile bike ride through southeastern Massachusetts on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Several mentoring programs have joined our efforts to raise funds for their own programs as well. We want you to meet one of the awesome riders on these teams!
- Why did you choose to ride for mentoring in the 2013 Rodman Ride for Kids? I signed up with the Project Coach team. We are a group of graduate students at Smith College and the six of us work with low-income and unprivileged youth in Springfield. In addition to our normal graduate school courses, we work with Springfield teens to develop their coaching and leadership skills as well as work with them toward academic success and a future that includes college and a successful career. The Project Coach team has all signed up for the Rodman Ride to raise funds and awareness for this great cause.
- What has been the most rewarding experience of your training and/or fundraising so far? Training for the ride has been great for me. Having commuted to work in Boston by bike for the past two years, I had come to dislike riding my bike because any ride I took was riddled with potholes, traffic lights, and hundreds of honking, impatient drivers. Now that I live in Northampton, I've rediscovered how much fun riding a bike can be, and I have really enjoyed riding all over the Pioneer Valley, training and getting to know my new territory at the same time.
- Tell us about an important mentor you had/have in your life. In high school, my cross-country ski coach, Kris, was a great mentor to me. She modeled the kind of life I wanted to live, balancing her job as a chemist; her ski training and coaching; her hobbies of biking, running, and gardening; and her busy family of three children. In her high school days, she had struggled with many of the same problems I struggled with, and she showed me, both verbally and by example, how to persevere. She pushed me to train harder and race faster without letting anything else slip. And she gave me the bike that she rode in college - the same be I'll be riding for the Rodman Ride.
- Why do you think mentoring is important? How does it strengthen communities? Mentoring, whether formal or informal, is an important aspect of healthy communities. All children and teens, as well as many adults, benefit from mentor relationships. No one parent can provide every bit of information, expertise, and time that a child with diverse interests needs, so mentors step in and fill the holes that even the most devoted and well-intentioned of guardians might leave. A mentor's most important role, I believe, is to model the behaviors and habits of a well-balanced adult and to guide their mentee towards a similarly balanced lifestyle. The more mentoring opportunities a community has, the higher the chance of success for the youth of that community. Youths who have grown up and matured surrounded by positive relationships will strengthen their community and, hopefully, become positive mentors themselves.