As a former resident of Apache County, I will always feel my heart’s attachment to the land and the people who reside there. "Pedal the Petrified" is an event that supports community college education through student scholarships for residents of this rural and remote area of northeastern Arizona in both Navajo and Apache Counties. Education is and indispensable resource for the people of this area that spans 21,148 square miles with a population density of 10.1 persons per square mile. For perspective: West Virginia covers the same approximate land area and has 22 separate community college districts.
Some other facts:
- Many of the students supported by this event are first generation in their family to attend college. Many are "non-traditional" students - adults who are coming back to school while coping with the responsibilities of caring for children or elderly parents.
- Most students have incredible financial need, simply because they live in service area of Navajo and Apache counties, two of the poorest counties in the entire nation.
- While 14.9% of all Arizonans live below the poverty level, 26.4% of Navajo County and 33.1% of Apache County residents have this distinction.
My experience as a former resident of Apache county for 25 years was that of being embraced with kindness and generosity of spirit. It was there that I was taught a true sense of human dignity, strength and resilience that only those tempered by circumstance might impart to others. If you are able- won't you, please help to provide the opportunity of educational success to a student and their family? If you are not able, please send a prayer and positive intention to the success of our ride. THANK YOU!!
I rode the “metric century half-ride" in 2014 and again in 2018. This year I am inspired by friends to travel home to attempt the full “metric century ride” for the first time. I would like to make this ride count by fundraising for the students. Residing in a different area of the state for the past 3 years has heightened my awareness of the great disparity in resources available to the students of Navajo and Apache County.
As Rubem Alves states in his poem “What is Hope? Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them. We must live by the love of what we will never see.” Please consider the student challenges and most of all the strength of their potential and hope! THANK YOU for considering your gift to plant the dates of scholarship.