This summer, Lauren Ng ’00 will join a group of 60 college students pedaling 4,000 miles across North America in an effort to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.
An active volunteer and psychology major at Yale University, Lauren is excited about her summer plans. “I spend much of my time volunteering at hospitals and child psychology units, but I wanted to expand my activities, so I looked into Habitat for Humanity, explains Lauren, the Yale Habitat Family Partnerships Coordinator. “When I heard about the Habitat Bicycle Challenge, it seemed like the perfect way to spend a summer: seeing the country, meeting amazing and diverse people, while raising money for a wonderful cause.”
Lauren caught the community service bug while at Milton, volunteering at Elder Services. “The most important thing that I gained from Milton was exposure to many different people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. I was fortunate enough to meet and know a wide range of people,” says Lauren. “The people at Milton Academy opened my eyes to the complexities of the world as well as the possibilities of changing things with hard work and dedication.
“What attracts me to Habitat is that it is an organization in which the community and the participants work together to strengthen themselves and those around them. As a boarding student at Milton I often felt the same way – that the students and faculty worked together at smaller problems to create a community. While I was at Milton, I noted that it drew students who were idealistic and fostered the belief that students can and should change things in the world. The Habitat Bicycle Challenge is simply a continuation of this belief. It offers the rare opportunity to really make a difference in a family’s life – because it supports the Collegiate Build – through the direct actions of students, and I believe that Milton was one of the first places in my life where that idea came to fruition.”
Lauren began training this winter. She spends an hour on cardio and 20 minutes on weights every morning and now that the weather is improving will begin bicycling. The Habitat Bicycle Challenge crosses the country in two groups of 30 cyclists each. Lauren will spend nine weeks traveling along the Northern route, which begins in New Haven, Connecticut and traverses the scenic and difficult terrain of the northern United States and southern Canada. Lauren will bike through Connecticut, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Lauren will conclude her epic journey 4,000 miles later in Seattle, Washington.
According to Lauren, “the beauty of the challenge and Habitat lies in its simplicity. People putting in time and energy to help others, while meeting amazing people and having fun.” Lauren and her fellow cyclists will spread the word about Habitat’s work as they encounter thousands of people in large cities and small towns across the country. At several points along the route the bicyclists will take a day off and build Habitat homes with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate.
Habitat for Humanity International, Inc. (HFHI) is a not for profit organization that works in partnership with people from all walks of life in an effort to eradicate poverty housing and develop communities for people in need. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller, a Georgia attorney, Habitat has more than one thousand active affiliates in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
Check out www.yale.edu/habitat/home/home.htm for more information on the Habitat Bicycle Challenge and for sponsorship information or email Lauren (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.