The Rodman Ride for Kids

Don Rodman, local businessman and philanthropist, has supported social service organizations that serve at-risk children in Massachusetts for decades. A longtime friend of Catholic Charities and currently a member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees, Don began the Rodman Ride for Kids in 1991 as a way to engage the community in a collaborative effort to raise much needed funds for non-profit organizations across the region. What began as a small effort has now grown to be the #1 single-day athletic fundraiser benefitting kids in the country.

Catholic Charities has been participating in the Ride since 2004, and is one of 48 organizations that will benefit from the Ride, to be held this year on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

Each year, riders commit to an individual fundraising goal of $1,500 and participate in a 25, 50 or 100 mile non-competitive cycling tour. Riders' individual fundraising helps to meet Catholic Charities' goal of $125,000 which supports our youth education programs, after-school programs, and outreach services. Upon meeting our goal, the Rodman Ride for Kids will donate an additional 10 percent for every dollar we raise. This means an additional $12,500 for Catholic Charities programs that serve at-risk kids if we meet our goal!

Catholic Charities' Controller Barry Veronesi is participating in this year's Ride making it the fifth consecutive year that Barry has been a member of the Catholic Charities Ride team. Barry explains that in addition to the health benefits of training each year for the Ride that he is a true believer in "paying it forward" by helping out those in need. Barry's whole family gets involved as they encourage him to train for the 50 mile race. Barry's wife and two young sons come along on Ride Day to join in the festivities and to cheer him on. The Ride has become such an important part of Veronesi family life that the boys will often jump on their own bikes and race their own imaginary Rodman Ride in the neighborhood, with Dad cheering them on as they cross an imaginary finish line. Both boys aspire to ride alongside Barry in the Ride when they are old enough to join him.

As a first time rider, Beth Chambers, Director of Catholic Charities South, will be taking on the 25 mile course this year. Beth explains that she has "always wanted to do the Ride" and now with a brand new knee, she is training nightly and looking forward to Ride day. Beth's family and friends will help to be sure that she is one of our top fundraisers, with donations she receives committed to supporting Catholic Charities Sunset Point Camp.

The Catholic Charities Ride team also includes Laboure Center's Sister Maryadele Robinson, a nine year veteran of The Ride. Located in South Boston, the Laboure Center has for decades worked to meet the needs of children and families in the community. One of the hallmarks of our work in South Boston has been our ability to meet emerging community needs. Our programs have always provided safe and nurturing programs for children of all ages. Money raised by Team Laboure will be used to support our Youth Tutoring Youth and Youth Mentoring (TEAM) programs. Each of these programs is designed to support the healthy development and resilience of the young people we serve.

This year's Ride is of special significance to all of us at Catholic Charities. Earlier this year, we lost a dear friend of Catholic Charities and one of the Ride's staunchest supporters, Marilyn Rodman. Marilyn was an arts and education enthusiast, who alongside her husband Don, made sure that the Rodman Ride for Kids' mission: "to have every kid in our communities live as we would want our own kids to live'' remained front and center in all of their philanthropic activities. So this year, we dedicate our Ride to Marilyn and all that she did for our community.

Go to www.ccab.org to learn more about our work, including our Ride Team.

Debbie Rambo, LICSW, is the president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston.

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