PEPY Inspires Rides Around the World
Voluntourism, at its best, leads to meaningful changes. At PEPY, we work to positively influence not only livelihoods and communities in Cambodia, but also the lives of our volunteers themselves. PEPY‘s roots are in individual initiative and action, beginning with two women who decided to BE the change they wanted to see in the world. One of our goals at PEPY is to inspire our participants to acknowledge their own potential for change, and to become leaders in their own communities. This month we’d like to highlight several volunteers who have done exactly this, by leading their own PEPY-inspired rides in their respective homes across the globe.
After the first December volunteer trip and hearing about the success of The PEPY Ride, Board member Maryann Bylander gathered 8 volunteers to cycle 500 miles across Louisiana, raising over $12,000 for hurricane relief projects. “Before PEPY, I would have never thought to organize something like this myself,” said Maryann. “I felt like I needed someone’s permission to make something like this happen, or an organization to help me. Now, I can’t imagine why I doubted that I could do something like this on my own!”
After participating in the Hurricane Relief Ride, college student Mark Duhaime kept the hurricane relief wheels in motion. Inspired by the success of Maryann’s ride and the impact the experience had on him, Mark rounded up fellow students, organized, and led a second Hurricane Relief Ride. In only a few months, Mark and his group hit the road during their fall break, touching even more lives and raising funds for relief projects in the area.
These rides have not only been taking place in the US, but also across the Atlantic. Last summer, PEPY Rider Peppi Stunkel led 8 international bikers on a 3 day ride around Lac Leman in Switzerland, raising nearly $2,000 for the PEPY Bike to School Program. Her ride was such a success that Simone Aloe, a participant on the upcoming PEPY Ride III, organized a Lac Leman ride of her own. She led 14 fellow work associate cyclists and raised over $3,000 for The PEPY Ride. This amount was matched by Simone’s employer Proctor & Gamble, for a total of $6,000.
Not to be outdone by the first and third ride teams, PEPY Ride II cyclist Simon Seed recently organized a team of friends to bike from London to Paris; a week long adventure that raised over $2,000 for PEPY’s Road to Literacy Program. “I would recommend to anyone thinking of creating one to actually do it,” says Simon. “For all the moments of thinking ‘what have I let myself in for?’ it is all made up by the sense of accomplishment of actually doing it.”
A substantial part of PEPY’s progress is due to the heroic efforts of Maryann, Mark, Peppi, Simone, and Simon, all who have lead successful events! What is most impressive is the impact each of them have had on the people around them, particularly their work colleagues who learned about their goals and donated on their behalf, as well as the cyclists that joined the ride and endeavored to do more.
For those of you thinking of creating your own PEPY-inspired ride, former leaders have the following advice:
- Find something that really sounds like a challenge! Find a geographical landmark and/or quantify how much you will be cycling.
- Don’t underestimate how much time it will take you to organize an event – rope in some friends or colleagues to help you divide the work.
- Don’t let people forget it’s all about the charity.
- Create competition in any way you can, email updates on who has been sponsored, and create prominent visuals of your target and total donations raised.
- Just do it! Don’t doubt your own abilities to be the change YOU wish to see in the world!