Monday, September 21, 2015

All Revved Up

....




Every autumn for the past nine (!!!) years, Robb and I have participated in a fundraising event for a wonderful local organization, the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP).  We join an armada of disabled cyclists, casual riders, and serious athletes who all come together to help improve the lives of people with disabilities.  It's a beautiful event, through Northern California's wine country, but what makes it beautiful isn't the landscape, it's the people. 




Each year we ride with throngs of people with disabilities, and with their friends and families. We ride with blind cyclists, legless cyclists, frail and paralyzed cyclists. And each of them is a TOTAL FREAKING BADASS.  They are all out, pushing against their physical limitations and having a blast.




They're all raising money for a seriously good cause, and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

So what's it all about?


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Founded in 1976, the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to improve the health, independence and social integration of people with physical disabilities through sports, fitness and recreation programs. 


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 That all sounds very nice, but what does it mean?

Let's consider the lives of kids living with disabilities.

  • 28% of disabled Americans drop out of high school.
  • Just over 20% of disabled Americans get a college degree.
  • 73% of disabled Americans are unemployed.
  • Disabled kids are twice as likely to be depressed, commit suicide, and use alcohol or drugs than their able bodied peers.

 In stark contrast, the young people who participate in BORP programs become educated, productive, engaged members of society.

  • Over 95% have graduated from high school in the past ten years.
  • Over 80% either have university degrees, or are in college now.
  • Over 80% are employed.

So why does it work?



BORP works with kids as young as five years old, and stays with these kids until they turn 18. Their often-disabled mentors -- many of them BORP graduates -- offer regular, positive guidance.  BORP works with disabled kids, their families, their schools and service providers. BORP expects a lot from their participants, and the kids live up to expectations.  




In addition to the serious work of mentoring, these severely disabled kids get to be part of a larger community, to be part of a pack of their peers, and to do fun kid stuff.  BORP kids may have a lot of challenges, but they're as rowdy and rambunctious as any kid their age.  



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I tend to focus on the youth programs, but that's just a small part of what BORP does. There's a "lending library" of adaptive cycles, there are team sports for all ages and abilities,  there are programs for veterans, there are fitness classes, and weekly outings.  

We’re asking our blog readers to help us support this great organization. In a tangible sense, the money goes to run recreational programs for kids (and adults) with disabilities. But in a deeper way, it helps give disabled people the skills and confidence to face life’s challenges, and to have fun while doing so.

And it works. Instead of being the stereotypical "burden to society," BORP graduates overcome tremendous hurdles and lead full, fun, productive lives.

Please consider making a fully tax-deductable gift to BORP.  Click here for details.

Be a TOTAL FREAKING BADASS, and add to the fun!

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