AMERICUS, Ga. (Mennonite Mission Network) – This summer, using bicycles, water bottles and helmets as their tools, 18 riders will travel from Michigan to Florida to help raise houses.
From July 10 to August 16, these bikers, led by former Mennonite Voluntary Service participant Ryan Iafigliola, will travel from city to city, spreading the word about the Fuller Center for Housing and raising money to supplement building projects. The bike ride will also honor Millard Fuller, the founder of both Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing who died unexpectedly after a brief illness in February 2009.
Begun in 2005, the Fuller Center for Housing continues Fuller’s legacy of making decent housing available to all people. The Fuller Center focuses its efforts on helping to provide upkeep and renovations to existing homes. Instead of simply building new homes, they can fit homes with handicap accessible features like ramps and handrails, put on new roofs, and help with a variety of other repairs.
“Millard began to notice that there was a target audience that Habitat couldn’t serve. For example, elderly people who are living in a home but they don’t have the resources for upkeep. Now people can be blessed by receiving repairs and then help send back a gift that can bless someone else,” said Iafigliola.
Iafigliola first got involved with Habitat and Fuller during his time as a student at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. He knew he was interested in working alongside Fuller after college, and MVS provided a program that allowed him to serve with the Fuller Center for a year as a volunteer.
Mennonite Voluntary Service, one of Mission Network’s Christian Service programs, invites adults of all ages and backgrounds to spend a one- or two-year term living in community and serving in a variety of locations across the United States.
During his volunteer year, Iafigliola was encouraged to develop his own gifts as a leader and came up with the idea of a bike ride to raise awareness and funds for the Fuller Center. He modeled his idea on walks across the country that Fuller hosted during the 1980s and 1990s.
Last summer, eight riders joined Iafigliola in a coast-to-coast bike ride from San Diego, Calif., to Savannah, Ga., and raised $135,000 for the Fuller Center. This year the goal is to raise $200,000, and Iafigliola is still looking for more riders, for a day or for the entire trip, to help meet this goal.
Last year, one biker, Katherine Stump, found the ride on Facebook, an online social networking site. She was so inspired by the mission of the Fuller Center, that when the bikers rode through Americus, Ga., where the Fuller Center is located, she submitted an application and interviewed for a job. She now serves as the assistant director of communications for the Fuller Center.
“The bike ride changed my whole perspective. I had never considered working for a nonprofit before, but for the first time in my life I felt God calling me to do something. It renewed my faith to see people putting their faith into action,” said Stump.
During the 2009 bike ride, bikers will stay at churches and connect with Fuller Center partners in different cities. On July 12 in South Bend, Ind., Fuller Center board chair and longtime supporter, Leroy Troyer, is organizing a building event where riders will help to renovate a house alongside people from the community. Bikers will also stay at Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend and have a chance to share with church members about their ride. Members of the congregation will also join the bikers for the first day’s journey.
“In our county, we’re working on a program to eliminate substandard housing. The Bible says that with God all things are possible and we’re claiming that. It’s exciting to see young people like Ryan getting involved,” said Troyer.
After completing his year with MVS, Iafigliola continues to work at the Fuller Center as a staff member because of his belief in the program.
“God gives us life so that we can give to others,” said Iafigliola. “This program has a tremendous ability to break down barriers and to build relationships.”
Individuals are invited to join the Fuller Center bikers for any length of time during the ride. For more information about the Fuller Center bike adventure, visit www.fullercenterbiketrip.com. For more information on Mennonite Voluntary Service and other Christian service programs, visit service.mennonitemission.net
by Hannah Heinzekehr
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I went to
While swimming at the pool one day, I decided I was going to do a Triathlon. I lifeguard everyday for a group of Triatheletes, Ironmanist, and the long distance swimmers. Randomly unplanned I went to the bike store. I never thought I would come home with a bicycle. I was just looking. Well, I came home with a bicycle that cost more than my car was worth. I of course hid the price of the bicycle to my father for months. I mean, It cost more than my car. He would kill me. But one day he went to the bicycle store, and guess what; they don’t sell road bikes under $900.00 and even at $900.00 don’t expect it to come with road clip pedals, road clip shoes, a air pump, helmet, bike shorts, bike jersey, carbon water bottle cage and aero bars. I was caught.
Phew, one parent down. Grandparents and mother still to go. Okay, so I just told my grandfather. He was okay with it, I mean he has $1,000 saddle bags on his "bike" (granted its powered by gasoline). Grandmother was not impressed. Not impressed at all, I could bike way faster than her now. She thought id never ride with her again. My mother was just upset that I didn’t buy a new car instead. Typical parent. Geesh.
I’m not going to lie, I bought the bike and maybe rode 600 miles the WHOLE summer before snowfall. So, it definitely cost more than a dollar a mile that summer.
The next summer I started riding more. By riding more I mean maybe 1000 miles the whole summer. Phew, at least the bike was no more than $1.00 a hour at this point. But still, I thought id use it more.
I took the bike ALL the way to
In May of 2008 is when I really started enjoying my bicycle more. I moved back to East Coast and lived in
I moved back to
As spring 2009 came. I began to love the idea of biking again. I didn’t have much time to get on the saddle. But I put in a few miles. Then one day I decided to Google cross country bicycle fundraising. I came across Bike and Build. Full for the summer. MS bike US. FULL.
Now…. It is Time for…. fundraising and pedaling.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
As many of you have heard im riding my bicycle from Michigan to Florida this summer to raise money for the Fuller Center for housing. YES. I know you think im crazy. Its okay. I think its amazing.
I will be biking Benton Harbor, MI to Panacae Park, Fl to raise money for the Fuller Center for housing. currently Im riding with 15 others. How about you just join us and make it 16. July 10 - August 16th. :) Cant ride. then donate money and help others with low income housing.
Fuller Center for Housing is a non profit ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing in the United States and World wide. This organization was organized by Millard Fuller, who was also the founder for Habitat of Humanity.
Now for the fun part.....the BIKE ADVENTURE...
My goal is to raise $4,000 dollars. That is $3.15 a mile that I bike. Can you sponser me for a mile? A state?
I allocated all the money I raise to go to low income hosing in Michigan and Central Florida. This will provide individuals with no roofs roofs, individuals with no stairs to there house stairs.
Central Florida Fuller Center housing link http://fullercenter.org/lo
Michigan Fuller Center housing link
Not only will be pedaling raising money. but we will be repairing several homes. (phew. didn't want just my legs to get muscular).
How to donate: Rider Name: Megan East online at: http://fullercenter.org/pr
and to everyone who says im crazy. I know. Its actually amazing. Isnt it going to be sweet to say I just biked to Florida.
Location: 456 Riverbend Dr. Milan, MI
Fuller Center for Housing is new to me as well. Founded in 2005 by Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat for Humanity, as a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. By forming local partnership organizations, FCH provides the structure, guidance and material support that communities need to build and repair homes for people too elderly or too poor to help themselves through traditional means. Th Fuller Center seeks to improve standards of living by helping our improverished neighbors help themselves. A FC home is not a hand out but a hand up. Homeowners work alongside volunteers and repay construction costs interest-free terms that they can handle at a no profit to TFC. Homeowners regain a sense of human dignity.
The desperate need for safe, affordable housing is ENORMOUS. (even more so in today's economy. Do you have a roof that leaks? Do you have broken windows? Do you have a house where the walls and foundation are crumbling? I don't. I don't have a luxury house, I don't have a luxury way of living. But I have the adequate need of housing. I have a few dollars to spend on a coffee, and to buy a new pair of shoes now then. So. with that said. that's why I decided to join. In today's economy. We all need to give a little to help the housing problem. I just cant even imagine every time it rains, i lose more and more items, my house gets mold and to live in such horrible conditions. Us not helping individuals in need. Isn't improving our way of life at all.)
2 MILLION people live with a roof that leaks when it rains 3.7 million live with broken windows. 2.5 million live with a house that has a crumbling foundation.
I'm so excited to share about the group. and Raise money for the group.
I have a passion for helping people, a passion for biking, and a passion to have a decent place to live. I couldn't ask for a better opportunity. Im thankful to have the opportunity to take 5 weeks off of work, pay my student loans still, pay my bills and donate 5 WEEKS of my time raising money for decent housing and biking. :)
The purpose of the bike trip is to do our part and put our faith into action by raising funds for the Fuller Center's worldwide housing ministry.
Remember, you don't have to ride 1,300 miles to support the Fuller Center Bike Adventure and the mission of providing simple, decent housing. Please join me and others for a week, a day, the entire way. OR you can Support me. :) www.fullercenterbiketrip.c
Can you help spread the word about the fuller center for housing. I have fliers I can email you. Please tell your friends and family.
PLEASE visit the website @ www.fullercenterbiketrip.com . A blog will be posted frequently by all riders :)