Next week we head off to Israel where my husband will participate in a rigorous 300 mile bike ride to raise money for the Arava Institute, an international environmental center in the Negev, Israel's southern desert.
The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is the premier environmental teaching and research program in the Middle East, preparing future Arab and Jewish leaders to cooperatively solve the region's environmental challenges. Located in the heart of Israel's Arava desert, the Arava Institute is a unique oasis of environmental education, research, and international cooperation.Over 175 riders will together raise close to a $750,000, and have an inspiring time doing it! I am always happy to support friends who take on these initiatives, commiting themselves to both the fundraising and the physical challenges. We have supported AIDs bike rides and Breast Cancer Three Day Walks. Our nephew is training for a triathlon for leukemia-lymphoma. My son did the local AIDS walk annually for six or seven years. In all cases they feel great about meeting or even exceeding their funding goals, surviving the grueling ordeals some of these events set out, and enjoying the wonderful bonding which takes place among participants.
Students at the Arava Institute explore a range of environmental issues from a regional, interdisciplinary perspective while learning peace-building and leadership skills. The studies are international in scope, with a student body comprised of Jordanians, Palestinians, Israelis, North Americans as well as other nationalities.
In our case I am a not much of a bike rider, so we split the task. I have managed the fundraising, and he will do the pedaling. His $10,000 goal has been accomplished by 129 donors, with gifts ranging by a multiplier of 100: from $10 to $1000! About five of the donors were folks who donated without even being asked - what nice surprises. Thanks to all, and good luck to all the bikers.