In January, the All Lines team and I participated in our third Pedal for a Purpose to benefit the YMCA of the Inland Northwest. The YMCA invites teams from local businesses to pedal on a stationary bike for an hour, have fun, and help raise awareness for the variety of services they provide for our community. I’ve pedaled for the last several years, but this year was different for me.
This year, my partner Tom Moore and I attended the Y’s kickoff party prior to the race day. The Y invited their staff and corporate sponsors to gather together for drinks, munchies, and mingling. The evening went on with presentations of inspiration, staff commitments to financial goals, and in particular a story of a teenager who immigrated to the U.S. from Afghanistan along with his three brothers and mother. They escaped the wars raging in the Middle East and settled here in Spokane.
With very limited funds and four boys at home, their neighbors encouraged their family to check out the Y for its variety of activities and positive influences. Their mother wrote to the YMCA, inquiring about potential financial assistance to help get her boys enrolled. Of course, the YMCA was happy to provide a place where the boys could become active and learn new skills.
Fast forward to today: the oldest boy wanted to repay the Y’s generosity and asked how he could help. The Y needed life guards, but he didn’t know how to swim. No problem! The YMCA taught him how to swim, and he worked hard to earn his life guard certification. Today he is one of the Y’s life guards.
While pedaling, one of the Y’s coordinators asked me why I pedal. I didn’t get the chance to testify to the many pedalers at the event, so I am giving you my purpose now. Why do I pedal for a purpose? I don’t have a purpose, I have someone else’s purpose! For that teen, soon to be a young man, soon to be a citizen of the U.S.